The role of SES and ELL in academic performance among upper elementary students

The role of SES and ELL in academic performance among upper elementary students

First Author: Bingshi Zhang -- Middle Tennessee State University
Additional authors/chairs: 
Jwa Kim
Keywords: English Language Learners (ELL), Grade 3-4, SES, Elementary, mathematical and reading literacy
Abstract / Summary: 

Purpose: Reading and mathematics are two major components of elementary academic performance, and they are interwoven. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of English learners (ELL) and socio-economic status (SES) on students' academic performance in conjunction of the Matthew effects among upper elementary students. The relationship between the starting point (intercept) and the rate of change (slope) of participants' reading and mathematics scores can be analyzed to demonstrate the growth patterns of academic performance of students with different ELL and SES status.
Method: Test scores from the MAP Growth Test for Language and Mathematics of 625 (320 boys and 305 girls) upper elementary students in an urban district of the southeast U.S. were analyzed. There were 204 ELLs and 421 Non-ELLs, and 387 low SES students and 238 medium and high SES students. After computing descriptive statistics, correlations, latent growth curve analysis (LGCA) was applied.
Results: High correlations among pairs of reading and mathematics scores were detected. The results of LGCA indicated that SES had a significant positive impact on both intercept and slope of mathematics performance as well as on the intercept of reading. ELL also had a significant positive effect on the intercept and slope of mathematics and reading performance.
Conclusion: ELL and SES had different impacts on reading and mathematics performance for upper elementary students. Educational and instructional implications were discussed in conjunction with progress monitoring and RTI intervention.