Publication Date


Document Type


Organizational Units

Morgridge College of Education, Teaching and Learning Sciences, Curriculum and Instruction


Sustainable educational development, Assessment, Equity, Science


In the United States, assessment is seen as a lever that can facilitate high-quality education. This study on English learners, students whose native language is not English, was based on data from eighth-grade English learners’ performance on science general and content-specific (physical, life, and earth science) standardized exams and an English language proficiency exam. The researchers utilized regression analysis to examine factors (i.e., socioeconomic status, home language, English language proficiency, and receptive and productive elements of language) that are predictive of English learner performance in general and content-specific science standardized assessments to identify implications for construct validity of high-stakes science assessments. The research question is as follows: What factors influence the performance of English learners on a standardized science assessment, including overall performance and content-specific domains? Three main findings emerged from this research study. First, this study confirms previous research indicating that socioeconomic status and English language proficiency are predictive of English learners’ achievement on content-based standardized tests. Second, this study adds to current research by providing evidence that productive language scores are the most significant predictors of English learner science achievement, in comparison to receptive language scores, overall English language proficiency scores, home language, and socioeconomic status. Third, this study adds to the body of evidence needed to challenge the validity of standardized science tests for English learner populations. The findings of this study challenge the construct validity of science content-based assessments for English learners, emphasizing the importance of productive language in academic performance.

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Publication Statement

Salazar, M. d. C., Bruno, J. K., & Schneider, M. P. (2022). High quality, equity, and assessment: An analysis of variables impacting English learner standardized science test performance and implications for construct validity. Sustainability 14, 7814. su14137814

Rights Holder

Maria del Carmen Salazar, Joanna K. Bruno, Melissa P. Schneider


Received from author

File Format



English (eng)


15 pgs

File Size

339 KB

Publication Title

MDPI: Sustainability



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