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ERIC Number: ED563453
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Apr
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 24
Do Linguistic Features of Science Test Items Prevent English Language Learners from Demonstrating Their Knowledge?
Noble, Tracy; Kachchaf, Rachel; Rosebery, Ann; Warren, Beth; O'Connor, Mary Catherine; Wang, Yang
Grantee Submission, Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Association of Research on Science Teaching (Pittsburgh, PA, Apr 2014)
Little research has examined individual linguistic features that influence English language learners (ELLs) test performance. Furthermore, research has yet to explore the relationship between the science strand of test items and the types of linguistic features the items include. Utilizing Differential Item Functioning, this study examines ELL performance on 162 Grade 5 large-scale science multiple-choice test items and its relationship to two discourse features, as well as the distribution of these features across three science strands. We also interviewed 52 ELLs to examine their interaction with these two features. Results indicate that these two features were most frequent on items under the Life Science strand. Additionally, both of these features were significantly correlated with DIF disfavoring ELLs indicating that the presence of these features potentially hinder ELLs' abilities to understand test items containing these features. Interviews confirmed that these two features in combination interfered with ELLs' abilities to make sense of the items, which often resulted in students answering incorrectly, even when they demonstrated knowledge of the content. Because the features are most frequent on Life Science items, ELLs' content knowledge on these topics may be severely underestimated for this strand.
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: Grade 5; Intermediate Grades; Middle Schools; Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Institute of Education Sciences (ED)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System
IES Funded: Yes
Grant or Contract Numbers: R305A110122