EXPLORING DEMOGRAPHIC CORRELATES OF LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY AND ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT AMONG ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS
Committee memberDuCette, Joseph P.
Fiorello, Catherine A.
Thurman, S. Kenneth
English Language Learner
Home Language Survey
Limited English Proficient
Second Language Acquisition
Permanent link to this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12613/1580
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AbstractContemporary research suggests that multiple criteria, including SES, ethnicity, first and second language proficiency levels, language dominance, immigrant and/or generational status, acculturation status, and educational placement history predict ELL student achievement levels (Abedi, 2008). However, the majority of states do not examine these factors and instead use a combination of the Home Language Survey (HLS) plus an English language proficiency test for screening and identification, though it is debated if these instruments adequately measure the type of language proficiency needed to be successful in mainstream classrooms (O'Malley & Pierce, 1994). Because of these findings, it seems that multiple criteria are important to examine when screening students for English Language Learner (ELL) placement. It is hypothesized that a more detailed classification system will better predict students' academic language abilities as part of a universal screening effort, and truly identify those at most need for specialized language support. The present study uses a correlational design to examine the relationship between a parent interview form, the Bilingual Parent Interview (BPI) and students' language proficiency scores in both their native and second languages, as well as their academic achievement. It was hypothesized that the multiple criteria assessed with the BPI would be more associated with language proficiency abilities and academic achievement than the HLS. English-Language Learners (ELLs; n= 42) in grades two through five were targeted for participation. Families were recruited from a public elementary school in a city in Southern California. Record reviews were conducted to collect parents' responses on the HLS and the BPI, as well as students' language proficiency scores on the California English Language Development Test (CELDT), the Language Assessment Scales Links Español, and the Preschool Language Assessment Scales 2000 Español 2000 (Pre-LAS 2000). In addition, students' academic achievement based upon the California STAR program was also collected. It was anticipated that items on the BPI would better correlate students' language abilities and academic achievement than those from the HLS. However, it was determined that the HLS better correlated with measures of English Language Proficiency and Spanish Language Proficiency, therefore providing initial support for the validity of this measure. Examination of the socio-cultural factors related to the language abilities and academic outcomes of at-risk ELL students expands upon efforts to identify students in need of remedial support as part of an early prevention model. In addition, the assessment of language proficiency and achievement data in both English and Spanish extends the effort to discriminate between endogenous learning disabilities and language delays resulting from second language acquisition amongst ELL children who struggle academically.
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Diagnosing L2 English Learners’ Listening comprehension abilities with Scripted and Unscripted Listening TextsBeglar, David; Wagner, Elvis; Swenson, Tamara; Leeming, Ian Paul (Temple University. Libraries, 2018)L2 listening research has moved toward a focus on understanding the process of listening. However, there are still few detailed studies of L2 listening that reveal learners’ comprehension processes when listening to scripted and unscripted listening texts. Studies in which such processing has been discussed have lacked detailed diagnoses of how bottom-up and top-down processing interactively affect listeners’ comprehension. This study was designed to show how listeners’ process and comprehend texts, with a focus on how their bottom-up and top-down processing either assist or impede their comprehension. In this study, a group of 30 L1 Japanese university English language learners’ listening abilities were diagnosed. The 30 participants were at three listening proficiency levels—high, mid, and low—based on TOEIC listening proficiency scores. The diagnostic procedure involved participants listening to two scripted and two unscripted listening texts and then reporting what they comprehended through three tasks—L1 oral recalls, L2 repetitions, and verbal reports. Other data was also collected in the study to relate the comprehension of listening texts to other important listening-related variables including listening proficiency, lexical knowledge, listening anxiety, study abroad experience, short-term phonological memory, and working memory. The main finding of the study was that miscomprehension of listening texts was invariably multi-causal, with a combination of both bottom-up and top-down factors leading to comprehension difficulty. Although not a new finding, the study offered more detail than current research about how bottom-up and top-down processing occur interactively. Regarding the overall difficulty of the listening texts, unscripted texts were more difficult to comprehend than scripted texts, and high-proficiency participants had fewer listening difficulties overall than mid- and low-proficiency participants. Quantitative and qualitative results revealed common processing difficulties among all participants due to L1-related phonological decoding issues (e.g., /l/ vs. /r/), connected speech, unknown lexis, and a lack of familiarity with unscripted speech hesitation phenomena (e.g., um, like). Qualitative transcript examples showed how top-down knowledge influenced misinterpretations of words and phrases interactively with bottom-up information, making inaccurate understandings of listening difficult to overcome. In addition to revealing participants’ difficulties and the severity of their comprehension difficulties, the diagnostic procedure showed common strengths—key words and phrases understood well by participants. High-frequency vocabulary and shorter utterances were both shown to be comprehended well. Finally, quantitative results in the study revealed relationships of participants’ listening comprehension with other important listening related variables. Listening proficiency and listening anxiety had strong relationships with listening comprehension of the listening texts. Working memory and short-term phonological memory had no relationship with listening text comprehension. Finally, study abroad experience showed a relationship with comprehension, but with many caveats, and listening vocabulary knowledge was not related with comprehension, but again, with numerous caveats to consider. Based on the results, theoretical and pedagogical implications were posed. Theoretical implications from the study relate to the understanding of four concerns in L2 listening research. Mainly, data in the study will aid researchers’ understanding of how L2 English listeners process speech interactively (i.e., with bottom-up and top-down information) for comprehension, how L2 English listeners experience connected speech, how L2 listeners deal with unknown lexis, and how L2 listeners experience difficulties with features of unscripted speech. Pedagogical implications of the study include the need for increased teacher and learner awareness of the complexity of L2 listening, the need to have learners to track their own listening development, and the need for teachers to expose learners to unscripted listening texts and make them familiar with features of unscripted speech. Finally, suggestions for further research are posed, including conducting diagnostics assessments of L2 listening with listeners of different L1s and with more varied proficiency levels, using different diagnostic procedures to examine L2 listening comprehension, and using more instruments to understand listening-related variables’ relationships with L2 listening comprehension.
Vocabulary Learning With Graphic Organizers in the EFL Environment: Inquiry Into the Involvement Load HypothesisNation, I. S. P.; Beglar, David J.; Childs, Marshall; Allen, Mitsue Tamai, 1956-; Murphey, Tim (Temple University. Libraries, 2012)This study investigates the Involvement Load Hypothesis proposed by Laufer and Hulstijn (2001). The involvement load hypothesis posits that vocabulary learning is determined by involvement load or mental effort. Involvement load has three components, need, search, and evaluation and each component is scored for three levels: index 2 for the strongest, index 1 for a moderate degree, and index 0 for none. Each participant learned six words with graphic organizers at the high involvement load (need index 1, search index 1, evaluation index 2, total index 4) and six at the low involvement load (need index 1, search index 1, and evaluation index 0, total index 2). Immediately and one week after completing the graphic organizer task, vocabulary knowledge was measured using three vocabulary tests that tested different levels of vocabulary knowledge: a translation test, a difficult multiple-choice test, and an easy multiple-choice test. Quantitative analyses of data from 291 university and college students in Japan were conducted, and audio-recordings from five pairs were analyzed to examine learning processes. Repeated measures MANOVA and ANOVAs revealed significant differences between the conditions of the two involvement loads in the translation test and the easy multiple-choice test, but not in the difficult multiple-choice test. The effects of Task and Time were statistically significant, but there was no interaction. There were significant differences between the immediate test and delayed test observed in the translation test and the easy multiple-choice test, but not with the difficult multiple-choice test. The current study supports the involvement load hypothesis, but caution is advised. Even though the high involvement load graphic organizers yielded more vocabulary retention than those with less involvement load in two out of the three vocabulary tests, the differences in mean scores were small and extensive differences were not observed in the participants' discussions. Additional statistical analysis indicated that the three vocabulary tests measured three levels of vocabulary knowledge. Determining the effectiveness of graphic organizers for vocabulary learning was only mildly successful as forcing greater involvement load proved to be challenging.
Effects of metalinguistic knowledge and language aptitude on second language learningSick, James; Beglar, David J.; Ross, Steven, 1951-; Schaefer, Edward; Childs, Marshall (Temple University. Libraries, 2014)The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of metalinguistic knowledge and language learning aptitude on second language (L2) procedural knowledge. Three lines of inquiry were undertaken: (a) confirming the factorial structure of metalinguistic knowledge and language learning aptitude; (b) testing the relative effects of metalinguistic knowledge and language learning aptitude on L2 procedural knowledge; and (c) assessing the relative contributions of receptive and productive metalinguistic knowledge and components of language learning aptitude to L2 procedural knowledge. Two-hundred-forty-nine Japanese university students participated. One receptive and two productive tests of metalinguistic knowledge related to metalinguistic terminology and English grammatical rules were administered. Learners' language learning aptitude was measured using the Lunic Language Marathon, which consisted of four scales: number learning, sound-symbol association, vocabulary learning, and language analytical ability. Participants' L2 procedural knowledge was assessed through performance on a timed writing task. The writing samples were scored for overall quality, L2 complexity, accuracy, and fluency. The scores from each test were subjected to Rasch analyses to investigate the construct validity and unidimensionality of the instruments. The results of the Rasch analyses indicated that the test items fit the Rasch model, supporting the construct validity of the instruments. The unidimensionality of each instrument was established through Rasch principal component analyses. Interval-level Rasch measures were used for the subsequent analyses. The results of exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses indicated that metalinguistic knowledge and language learning aptitude were distinct constructs. A two-factor model showed good model fit and explained the relationship between the two constructs. Structural equation modeling revealed that metalinguistic knowledge significantly predicted L2 procedural knowledge, complexity, accuracy, and fluency. Language learning aptitude, however, was not a statistically significant predictor of the L2 procedural knowledge variables. The results of a path model analysis indicated that productive metalinguistic knowledge was the strongest predictor of L2 procedural knowledge, language analytical ability predicted receptive metalinguistic knowledge, and number learning was negatively associated with L2 procedural knowledge. The findings point to the facilitative role of metalinguistic knowledge in L2 learning and the viability of L2 declarative knowledge becoming proceduralized through practice.