Impact of Language of Instruction and Language Modeling Ratings on Growth Trajectories of Spanish-English Bilingual Preschoolers’ Early Literacy Skills

Impact of Language of Instruction and Language Modeling Ratings on Growth Trajectories of Spanish-English Bilingual Preschoolers’ Early Literacy Skills

First Author: Stephanie Brunner -- University of Minnesota
Additional authors/chairs: 
Theresa Kohlmeier; Jose Palma; Alisha Wackerle-Hollman; Lillian Duran; Chase Callard
Keywords: English Language Learners (ELL), Spanish, Assessment, Classroom Quality, Growth Modeling
Abstract / Summary: 

Understanding growth trajectories of Spanish-English bilingual (SEB) children over time can inform instructional and intervention needs, and evidence indicates classroom-level factors may influence these trajectories (Burchinal, Field, Lopez, Howes & Pianta, 2012; Mashburn et al., 2008). In a previous study, we examined the impact of classroom language of instruction on SEB preschoolers’ initial status and growth on IGDI measures; variance components from hierarchical linear model (HLM) results were large. To investigate what may contribute to this variance, the current study adds language modeling to the model as a measure of classroom quality.
Three hundred thirty-two 4-and-5-year-old SEB children in 56 classrooms (n=45 English, n=11 Spanish instruction) were assessed using Spanish and English IGDI picture naming measures in fall, winter, and spring.

Language modeling scores from the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS; Pianta, LaParo, & Hamre, 2009) were collected from participating classrooms with existing CLASS data. A three-level HLM with language of instruction group membership and language modeling scores as classroom-level predictors will be fit to answer two research questions: (1) To what degree does language modeling substantively add to the model that already includes language of instruction? (2) To what degree do higher language modeling scores predict growth in picture naming skills?

Results will yield conclusions about explained variance and effects of language modeling on picture naming skill growth based on language of instruction. Implications for classroom instruction for SEB preschoolers and future research directions to examine other dimensions of classroom quality will be proposed.