Science as a Second Language: Analysis of Emergent Bilingual Performance and the Impact of English Language Proficiency and First Language Characteristics on the Colorado Measures of Academic Success for Science
Date of Award
Curriculum and Instruction
Maria del Carmen Salazar, Ph.D.
Assessment, Emergent bilinguals, Middle school, Receptive and productive langauge, Science achievement, Second language acquisition
In an age when communication is highly important and states across the nation, including Colorado, have adopted Common Core State Standards, the need for academic language is even more important than ever. The language of science has been compared to a second language in that it uses specific discourse patterns, semantic rules, and a very specific vocabulary. There is a need for educators to better understand how language impacts academic achievement, specifically concerning Emergent Bilinguals (EBs). Research has identified the need to study the role language plays in content assessments and the impact they have on EBs performance (Abedi, 2008b; Abedi, Hofestter & Lord, 2004; Abedi & Lord, 2001). Since language is the means through which content knowledge is assessed, it is important to analyze this aspect of learning. A review of literature identified the need to create more reliable and valid content assessments for EBs (Abedi, 2008b) and to further study the impact of English proficiency on EBs performance on standardized assessments (Solorzano, 2008; Wolf, & Leon, 2009). This study contributes to the literature by analyzing EBs performance on a state-level science content assessment, taking into consideration English language proficiency, receptive versus productive elements of language, and students' home language. This study further contributes by discussing the relationship between language proficiency, and the different strands of science (physical, life, and earth) on the state science assessment. Finally, this study demonstrates that home language, English language proficiency, and receptive and productive elements of language are predictive of EBs' achievement on the CMAS for science, overall and by strand. It is the blending of the social (listening and speaking) with the academic (reading and writing) that is also important and possibly more important.
Bruno, Joanna Kristine, "Science as a Second Language: Analysis of Emergent Bilingual Performance and the Impact of English Language Proficiency and First Language Characteristics on the Colorado Measures of Academic Success for Science" (2016). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1220.
Received from ProQuest
Joanna Kristine Bruno
Educational Evaluation, English as a Second Language, Science Education