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ERIC Number: EJ870417
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 46
ISSN: ISSN-1062-7197
Linguistic Complexity, Schematic Representations, and Differential Item Functioning for English Language Learners in Math Tests
Martiniello, Maria
Educational Assessment, v14 n3-4 p160-179 2009
This article examines nonmathematical linguistic complexity as a source of differential item functioning (DIF) in math word problems for English language learners (ELLs). Specifically, this study investigates the relationship between item measures of linguistic complexity, nonlinguistic forms of representation and DIF measures based on item response theory difficulty parameters in a state fourth-grade math test. This study revealed that the greater the item nonmathematical lexical and syntactic complexity, the greater are the differences in difficulty parameter estimates favoring non-ELLs over ELLs. However, the impact of linguistic complexity on DIF is attenuated when items provide nonlinguistic schematic representations that help ELLs make meaning of the text, suggesting that their inclusion could help mitigate the negative effect of increased linguistic complexity in math word problems. (Contains 4 tables, 1 figure and 5 footnotes.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 4; Intermediate Grades
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
IES Cited: ED559979