Defying expectations: Vocabulary growth trajectories of high performing language minority students
We investigated general vocabulary and academic vocabulary growth trajectories of adolescent language minority students using an individual growth modeling approach. Our analytical sample included 3161 sixth- to eighth-grade students from an urban school district in California. The language minority students in our sample were classified as initially fluent English proficient (IFEP), redesignated fluent English proficient (RFEP), or limited English proficient (LEP) students. The analytical sample was not a nationally representative sample and included a great number of Asian students and students who receive gifted and talented education. Students were assessed at four time points on a standardized measure of general vocabulary and a researcher-developed academic vocabulary test. On both vocabulary measures, IFEP students slightly outperformed English-only (EO) students on average, and EO students scored higher than RFEP and LEP students at baseline. RFEP and LEP students showed slower rate of growth than their EO peers in general vocabulary. While both EO and language minority students showed summer setback with general vocabulary knowledge on average, the magnitude of summer setback was not as great for LEP students. In academic vocabulary, all subgroups of language minority students showed more rapid rate of growth than their EO peers. Only the REP students experienced a change in the learning trajectory during the summer months. We discuss the implications of these findings for all language groups.
KeywordsLanguage minority students Adolescent Vocabulary growth Longitudinal Academic language
This research was supported by Grant Number R305A090555, Word Generation: An Efficacy Trial (PI: Catherine Snow) from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), US Department of Education (USDE).
- Aud, S., Hussar, W., Kena, G., Bianco, K., Frohlich, L., Kemp, J., et al. (2011). The Condition of Education 2011 (NCES 2011-033). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
- August, D., & Shanahan, T. (Eds.). (2006). Developing literacy in second-language learners: Report of the national literacy panel on language minority children and youth. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
- Beck, I., McKeown, M. G., & Kucan, L. (2002). Bringing words to life: Robust vocabulary instruction. New York, NY: Guilford.Google Scholar
- Brown, M. W., & Cudeck, R. (1993). Alternative ways of assessing model fit. In K. Bollen & J. Long (Eds.), Testing structural equation models (pp. 132–162). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
- Chall, J. S., & Jacobs, V. A. (2003). Poor children’s fourth-grade slump. American Educator, 27(1), 14–17.Google Scholar
- Common Core State Standards Initiative. (2010). Common Core State Standards for English language arts and literacy in history/social studies, science, and technical subjects. Washington, DC: Authors.Google Scholar
- Cummins, J. (2008). BICS and CALP: Empirical and theoretical status of the distinction. In B. Street & N. H. Hornberger (Eds.), Encyclopedia of language and education, Volume 2: Literacy (2nd ed., pp. 71–83). New York, NY: Springer.Google Scholar
- Dogan, E., de Mello, V. B., Lewis, S., Simon, C., Uzzell, R., Horwitz, A., et al. (2011). Addendum to pieces of the puzzle: Recent performance trends of urban districts—A closer look at 2009 NAEP Results.Google Scholar
- English Language Proficiency Assessment of 1999, California Education Code § § 313–313.5 (2014).Google Scholar
- Goldenberg, C. (2010). Reading instruction for English language learners. In M. Kamil, P. D. Pearson, E. Moje, & P. Afflerbach (Eds.), Handbook of reading research (Vol. IV, pp. 684–710). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.Google Scholar
- Heyns, B. (1978). Summer learning and the effects of schooling. New York, NY: Academic Press.Google Scholar
- Hiebert, E. H., & Lubliner, S. (2008). The nature, learning, and instruction of general academic vocabulary. In A. E. Farstrup & S. J. Samuels (Eds.), What research has to say about vocabulary instruction (pp. 106–129). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.Google Scholar
- Lawrence, J., Kulesz, P., Hwang, J. K., Francis, D. (under review). Dimensionality of vocabulary knowledge construct.Google Scholar
- Lawrence, J. F., Capotosto, L., Branum-Martin, L., White, C., & Snow, C. E. (2012). Language proficiency, home-language status, and English vocabulary development: A longitudinal follow-up of the Word Generation program. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 15(3), 437–451. doi: 10.1017/S1366728911000393.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Lesaux, N. K., Kieffer, M. J., Faller, S. E., & Kelley, J. G. (2010). The effectiveness and ease of implementation of an academic vocabulary intervention for linguistically diverse students in urban middle schools. Reading Research Quarterly, 45(2), 196–228. doi: 10.1598/RRQ.45.2.3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Linquanti, R., & Cook, H. G. (2013). Toward a “Common definition of English learner”: A brief defining policy and technical issues and opportunities for State Assessment Consortia. Washington, DC: Council of Chief State School Officers.Google Scholar
- MacGinitie, W. H., MacGinitie, R. K., Maria, K., & Dreyer, L. G. (2000). Gates-MacGinitie reading test technical report: Forms S and T. Chicago, IL: The Riverside Publishing Company.Google Scholar
- National Center for Education Statistics. (2012). The nation’s report card: Vocabulary results from 2009 and 2011 NAEP reading assessments (NCES 2013-452). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education.Google Scholar
- National Center for Education Statistics. (2015). (Table of number and percentage of public school students participating in programs for English language learners, by state: Selected years, 2002-03 through 2012–13). Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d14/tables/dt14_204.20.asp.
- National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition. (2011). What langauges do English learners speak? NCELA Fact Sheet. Retrieved from Washington, DC: http://www.gwu.edu/files/uploads/NCELAFactsheets/EL_Languages_2011.pdf.
- National Governors Association. (2010). Common Core state standards for english language arts and literacy in history. In Social studies, science, and technical subjects-Appendix a: Research supporting key elements of the standards—Common core state standards initiative. Retrieved from www.Corestandards.Org/the-Standards.
- Olsen, L. (2010). Reparable harm: Fulfilling the unkept promise of educational opportunity for California’s long term English learners. CA: Retrieved from Long Beach.Google Scholar
- Oxford, R. L. (1994). Language learning strategies: An update. Washington, DC: Eric Clearinghouse on Languages and Linguistics.Google Scholar
- Parrish, T., Perez, M., Merickel, A., & Linquanti, R. (2006). Effects of the implementation of Proposition 227 on the education of English learners, K-12: Findings from a five year evaluation (Final Report). Palo Alto and San Francisco, CA: American Institutes for Research and WestEd.Google Scholar
- Ryan, C. (2013). Language use in the United States: 2011. Washington, DC: US Census Bureau, August.Google Scholar
- Rydland, V., Aukrust, V., & Fulland, H. (2012). How word decoding, vocabulary and prior topic knowledge predict reading comprehension: A study of language-minority students in Norwegian fifth grade classrooms. Reading and Writing, 25(2), 465–482. doi: 10.1007/s11145-010-9279-2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Shin, H. B., & Ortman, J. (2011). Language projections: 2010 to 2020. Paper presented at the federal forecasters conference, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
- Short, D., & Fitzsimmons, S. (2007). Double the work: Challenges and solutions to acquiring language and academic literacy for adolescent English language learners: A report to Carnegie Corporation of New York. Washington, DC: Alliance for Excellent Education.Google Scholar
- Terry, N. P., Connor, C. M., Petscher, Y., & Conlin, C. R. (2012). Dialect variation and reading: Is change in nonmainstream American English use related to reading achievement in first and second grades? Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research, 55, 55–69. doi: 10.1044/1092-4388(2011/09-0257).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Williams, K. T. (2001). Group reading assessment and diagnostic evaluation technical manual. Circle Pines, MN: American Guidance Service.Google Scholar
- Woodcock, R. W. (1991). Woodcock language proficiency battery-revised. Itasca, IL: Riverside.Google Scholar