ERIC Number: ED483409
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Dec
Academic English in Fifth-Grade Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies Textbooks. CSE Report 642
Butler, Frances A.; Bailey, Alison L.; Stevens, Robin; Huang, Becky; Lord, Carol
Center for Research on Evaluation Standards and Student Testing CRESST
This study expands on previous National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST) work that has undertaken the articulation of the academic language construct for broad educational purposes. The primary goal was to describe the language of textbook selections in terms of vocabulary, grammar, and organization of discourse for test development. Specifically, the work reported here has focused on the academic English used in fifth-grade mathematics, science, and social studies textbooks and will contribute to the conceptual discussion of the nature of academic language, and will provide concrete guidelines for test development. The vocabulary analyses included measures of lexical diversity, word frequency, and frequency of multisyllabic and derived words, as well as variety of clause connectors and frequency of nominalizations. In addition, academic vocabulary was identified as specialized (within a discipline) and general (across disciplines). The grammatical analyses included the following features: sentence type, clause type, passive verb forms, prepositional phrases, noun phrases, and participial modifiers. The discourse analyses captured the organizational features of the selections on three levels: rhetorical mode (e.g., exposition and persuasion) and both dominant and supporting text features (e.g., description, classification, and paraphrase). The analyses of textbook language reported here have provided the bases for a profile of typical texts in each subject at the fifth grade that will be part of the foundation for developing academic language proficiency tests. We conclude by illustrating how these profiles can be used in the creation of test specifications. (Contains 13 appendices.)
Descriptors: Instructional Materials, Grammar, Textbooks, Social Studies, Sciences, Mathematics, Grade 5, Academic Discourse, Test Construction, Vocabulary
Center for the Study of Evaluation (CSE)/National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST), 300 Charles E. Young Drive North, GSE&IS Bldg., 3rd Flr./Mailbox 951522, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1522. Tel: 310-206-1532.
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Institute of Education Sciences (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: California Univ., Los Angeles. Center for the Study of Evaluation.
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A