Presentation on theme: "Characterizing the Complexities of Bilingualism: Issues of homogeneity and heterogeneity in language and literacy among Spanish-speaking Latino/a school-"— Presentation transcript:
Characterizing the Complexities of Bilingualism: Issues of homogeneity and heterogeneity in language and literacy among Spanish-speaking Latino/a school- age children Patrick Proctor, Boston College Rebecca Silverman, University of Maryland IES Annual Meeting June 30, 2010
CLAVES (Klah-vase) Comprehension, Linguistic Acquisition, and Vocabulary in English and Spanish
Definition of Terms Bilingual Learner -noun A student who speaks English plus another language and shows profiles ranging from emergent to full bilingualism Syn: language minority learner, dual language learner English Language Learner -noun A bilingual learner who is classified by his or her school and district as being limited in English proficiency such that alternative instruction is required
Level 1 Student BilingualELLNon-ELLMonolingual Level 2 Classroom Analytic Perspective African American African American Anglo
English and Spanish Language Constructs Under Study Vocabulary breadth (Woodcock-Muñoz Picture Vocabulary) Semantic awareness (CELF Word Classes and Word Associations) Syntactic awareness (CELF Formulated Sentences) Morphological awareness (Extract the Base; ) Reading Comprehension (WMLS, TOSREC, Gates-MacGinite) This is the first year of a 2-year cohort-sequential design following 3 groups (2 nd, 3 rd, and 4 th graders) into their 3 rd, 4 th, and 5 th grade years. Data presented here reflect the first wave of English (Fall 2009) and first wave of Spanish (Winter 2010) data collection
Panel Research Questions 1.What are the similarities and differences in English vocabulary and comprehension between a sample of Spanish-English bilingual and English monolingual 2 nd, 3 rd, and 4 th graders? 2.How do bilingual children in U.S. schools vary in language profiles in Spanish and English?
Who are Our Students? Combined sample between one district in Maryland and one district in Massachusetts (n = 294) 3 schools in MD, 3 in MA 31% from MA (n = 89); 69% from MD (n = 205) 44% Latino (n = 128), 35% African American (n = 102), 17% Anglo (n = 50), <1% Asian (n = 2), 3% Other (n = 9) 128 Spanish-English bilinguals, 166 English monolinguals (purposively sampled) 19 students (6.4%) are immigrants (parent report) 68 students (23%) are English language learners 105 students in 2 nd grade (40% bilingual), 94 students in 3 rd grade (49% bilingual), 94 students in 4 th grade (43% bilingual) Approximately 12% on IEPs
Panel Question 1 What are the similarities and differences in English vocabulary and comprehension between a sample of Spanish-English bilingual and English monolingual 2 nd, 3 rd, and 4 th graders?
What are we finding? Bilinguals versus Monolinguals, all differences are significant (ps <.01)
What are we finding? Further disaggregating changes things Bilinguals versus monolinguals, significant differences for vocabulary breadth and syntax. Both groups significantly outperform ELLs on all measures (all ps <.001)
What are we finding? The bilingual-monolingual distinction is crude. Anglo monolinguals significantly outperform African American monolinguals on all measures, who perform comparably to non-ELL bilinguals. Stable patterns by grade level
Patterns in the English data Identical patterns across grade levels Anglo students outperformed all groups on breadth, word classes, syntax, and comprehension African American and bilingual students performed comparably on breadth, word classes, syntax, and comprehension All groups significantly outperformed ELLs Bilinguals performed comparably to their Anglo counterparts on morphological awareness and word associations (a verbal reasoning task) – Arguably the most metalinguistic measures deployed in the current research
Preliminary Conclusions Not all monolinguals are the same!! Perhaps bilingualism is an equalizer for metalinguistic tasks once English proficiency reaches threshold – Degrees of bilingualism (Hakuta) – What is the threshold (Cummins)
Panel Question 2 How do bilingual children in U.S. schools vary in language profiles in Spanish and English?
Spanish literacy among bilingual learners Ecology of testing – Starting with language (breadth, semantics, syntax) – Moving into literacy (decoding, reading comprehension, morphological awareness) Many bilingual students spoke Spanish but did not read or write it Decoding skill in Spanish was used as a gatekeeper for assessing Spanish reading and morphological awareness
Law of Diminishing Literacy Returns N of students taking Spanish assessments (n = 129)
Degrees of Dominance WMLS-R Scaled Scores
Degrees of Dominance Raw Scores
Spanish-English Associations Among Language and Literacy Variables Spanish decoding correlated with English – Decoding (r =.575, p <.001) – All 3 reading measures (rs =.361,.352,.296, all ps <.01) – Syntax (r =.277, p <.01) – Semantics (r =.216, p <.05) – Vocabulary breadth (r =.215, p <.05) Spanish syntax was associated with English: – Syntax (r =.290, p <.01) – Reading (r =.304, p <.01) – Morphology (r =.282, p <.01) Spanish semantics were associated with English: – Semantics (r =.239, p <.05)
Preliminary Conclusions ELLs and non-ELLs show comparability on all Spanish measures except vocabulary breadth, which is low for both groups – Site (MD or MA) is non-predictive of Spanish language outcomes Cross-lingual associations – Much research shows the links between Spanish and English decoding skill – Less research shows these links between Spanish and English syntactic awareness Policy and practice – 60% of bilinguals in 3 MD schools are classified ELL – 26% of bilinguals in 3 MA schools are classified ELL Yet the bilingual groups (including ELLs) are comparable across sites – 7% of bilinguals in 3 MD schools have IEPs – 21% of bilinguals in 3 MA schools have IEPs
Future Directions Are developmental trajectories similar across monolinguals and bilinguals? – Do these trajectories depend on Degrees of bilingualism among the bilingual students? Levels of language among monolingual students? What is the relationship between classroom instruction and developmental trajectories of vocabulary and comprehension?