The relationship of language proficiency, general intelligence, and reading achievement with a sample of low performing, limited English proficient students
Jones, Charlotte Kennedy
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The present study had three purposes. The first was to examine the score reliability of instruments purported to be appropriate in the assessment of students with limited English proficiency (LEP). The second was to investigate the criterion-related validity of the Universal Nonverbal Intelligence Test (UNIT) with a sample of lowperforming, Hispanic students. The third purpose was to explore the contribution of language proficiency in the dominant language (L1) and the language proficiency in the subordinate language (L2) in the prediction of reading achievement in L1. Participants included first and third grade students of Hispanic origin who scored below the median for their district on a state-approved, district-administered measure of literacy in first grade. Satisfactory internal consistency estimates were achieved with a sample of LEP students (n=24) on the UNIT, the Woodcock-Mu?oz Language Survey (WMLS) in English and in Spanish, and the Bater?a Woodcock-Mu?oz: Pruebas de Approvechamiento-Revisada (Bater?a-R APR). For first grade students, scores from the UNIT demonstrated satisfactory concurrent validity with those from the Woodcock Johnson III: Tests of Achievement (WJ-III ACH) for a sample of Hispanic, non-LEP students (n=89). However, the concurrent validity of the UNIT was not upheld for a sample of Hispanic, LEP students administered the Bater?a-R APR (n=56). Regarding predictive validity, results from simple linear regression analyses suggested that performance on the UNIT in first grade accounted for a negligible portion of the variance on the Texas high-stakes reading test in third grade for a group of LEP students (n=51) as well as for a group of non-LEP students (n=77). Language proficiency in L1 emerged as a positive predictor of reading achievement in L1. However, language proficiency in L2 was not shown to be a statistically significant, independent contributor to this relationship with reading achievement on the Bater?a-R APR (n=79), WJ-III ACH (n=14), TAKS Spanish (n=54), or TAKS English (n=12). Findings are discussed with respect to the restriction of range due to selection criterion and sample size, the use of the Abbreviated battery of the UNIT in the prediction of reading achievement, and the contribution of language proficiency in L2 for low performing, LEP students in the third grade.