Capturing the diversity of English language learners' cultural and linguistic backgrounds and the influence on math and reading achievement

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Carolyn Anne Gilbert (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
John Willse

Abstract: English language learners (ELLs) are diverse individuals with various cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Unlike native English speakers, they do not all share a common language. Additionally, ELL students were not all born in the same country and most have not spent the same number of years attending U.S. schools. ELL students are a heterogeneous group, but the current research does not sufficiently appreciate and recognize those differences. Examining the diversity of ELL students, by incorporating contextual variables with limited sample sizes, was accomplished by using a hierarchical linear modeling approach. The results showed that students classified as LEP in fourth grade demonstrated lower initial mean scores in both math and reading than did exited LEP students. Students in both the Asian and Austro-Asiatic native language groups demonstrated higher math and reading scores at initial status compared to students in the Spanish native language group. The number of years attending U.S. schools impacted math and reading. Students born in the U.S. or Canada demonstrated higher math scores in 4th grade than did students in the Mexico/Central America/South America/Caribbean country of birth group. These findings have implications for both future research and practice in terms of methodological choices and database management to emphasize and address the academic needs of ELL students.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2015
Academic Achievement, Database Management, Diversity, English Language Learners, Hierarchical Linear Modeling, LEP Status
English language $x Study and teaching $z United States $x Foreign speakers
Limited English-proficient students $z United States
Multicultural education $z United States
Academic achievement $z United States
Reading comprehension
Mathematical ability

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