Event Title

Investigating the World of Mathematics to Uncover how Language Proficiency Influences English Language Learners Performance on High Stakes Tests

Location

Exhibition Hall, DeVos Center

Start Date

10-4-2012 3:30 PM

Description

PURPOSE: English Language Learners (ELLs) continue to be among the lowest-scoring groups on standardized tests and the gap between ELLs and their proficient English-speaking peers persists. The purpose of this study was to investigate the extent to which language proficiency influences performance on high stakes mathematics tests. SUBJECTS: The study included item performance data, by group, for seventh- and eighth-grade students (n = 24,693) who took the 2007 and/or the 2008 Michigan Education Assessment Program (MEAP), and a questionnaire completed by seventh- and eighth-grade participants (n=16) for triangulation. METHODS AND MATERIALS: Released items from the 2007 and 2008 mathematics MEAP were coded for data analysis and a questionnaire developed by the researcher was given to participants by teachers. ANALYSES: The item performance data set was analyzed using a logistic regression model to determine the interaction effects between ELLs and non-ELLs based on item type, language and strand. Cross tabulation, content, descriptive, and frequency analyses were conducted on questionnaire responses. RESULTS: Findings from the logistic regression reveal that the odds ratio in passing an item is affected by both whether that item was a computation or word problem, and also if a non-linguistic feature was present (p < .0001). The difference in passing rate was not affected by strand. Most of the 19 words identified as confusing or unfamiliar on the questionnaires were context-specific or technical mathematics language features. CONCLUSIONS: Results from this study have important implications for teacher preparation, classroom instruction, test design and score interpretation.

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Apr 10th, 3:30 PM

Investigating the World of Mathematics to Uncover how Language Proficiency Influences English Language Learners Performance on High Stakes Tests

Exhibition Hall, DeVos Center

PURPOSE: English Language Learners (ELLs) continue to be among the lowest-scoring groups on standardized tests and the gap between ELLs and their proficient English-speaking peers persists. The purpose of this study was to investigate the extent to which language proficiency influences performance on high stakes mathematics tests. SUBJECTS: The study included item performance data, by group, for seventh- and eighth-grade students (n = 24,693) who took the 2007 and/or the 2008 Michigan Education Assessment Program (MEAP), and a questionnaire completed by seventh- and eighth-grade participants (n=16) for triangulation. METHODS AND MATERIALS: Released items from the 2007 and 2008 mathematics MEAP were coded for data analysis and a questionnaire developed by the researcher was given to participants by teachers. ANALYSES: The item performance data set was analyzed using a logistic regression model to determine the interaction effects between ELLs and non-ELLs based on item type, language and strand. Cross tabulation, content, descriptive, and frequency analyses were conducted on questionnaire responses. RESULTS: Findings from the logistic regression reveal that the odds ratio in passing an item is affected by both whether that item was a computation or word problem, and also if a non-linguistic feature was present (p < .0001). The difference in passing rate was not affected by strand. Most of the 19 words identified as confusing or unfamiliar on the questionnaires were context-specific or technical mathematics language features. CONCLUSIONS: Results from this study have important implications for teacher preparation, classroom instruction, test design and score interpretation.