Reference : The Importance of home language for academic achievement of language minority children
Scientific congresses, symposiums and conference proceedings : Paper published in a book
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Education & instruction
Multilingualism and Intercultural Studies
http://hdl.handle.net/10993/32112
The Importance of home language for academic achievement of language minority children
English
Aleksic, Gabrijela mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) > Integrative Research Unit: Social and Individual Development (INSIDE) >]
Ferring, Dieter mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) > Integrative Research Unit: Social and Individual Development (INSIDE) >]
Martin, Romain mailto [University of Luxembourg > Rectorate > Academic Affairs >]
May-2015
10th International Symposium on Bilingualism
Yes
International
10th International Symposium on Bilingualism
20-05-2015 to 24-05-2015
New Brunswick
USA
[en] home language ; academic achievement ; language minority children
[en] Academic achievement and later chances in the labour market largely depend on the difficulties in understanding the language of school instruction in the country in which language minority children live. This may also increase the dropout rate, which will then increase the cost of education for language minority children. International studies have consistently showed that bilingual programs in which language minorities are instructed in both their home language and school language are effective for their academic achievement when compared to the programs in which they are instructed only in the school language. This has also been supported extensively by meta-analyses from the United States and Europe.
Two studies examined the predictive value of a range of variables associated with young children on their later literacy. Study 1 involved children age 5 to 7 from Serbia (N = 159); Study 2 engaged children age 4 to 6 from Luxembourg (N = 174). Children in Study 1 were assessed on entry to school, aged 5, and again at age 7. There were 16% of Roma children, 8% of Hungarians and 7% of other minorities. Twenty eight percent were not tested in their home language. Children in Study 2 were assessed once, in preschool. There were 28% of Portuguese children and 24% of other minorities. Fifty one percent were not tested in their home language. In Study 1, multilevel models indicated that a baseline assessment in early reading and mathematics (Performance Indicators in Primary Schools Test) administrated in school language at the age of 5, in particular with respect to their competence in mathematics, were the most significant predictors of children’s emergent literacy at the age of 7 after controlling for age, gender, vocabulary, and phonological awareness. In Study 2, gender, vocabulary, phonological awareness, and competence in mathematics at the age of 5 were significant predictors of emergent literacy at the same age, after controlling for age, test administered in school language, and behavior. Multivariate analysis of variance showed that Portuguese children performed significantly lower than Luxembourgish and other minority children in both reading and mathematics. Moreover, Luxembourgish children outperformed language minority children, both Portuguese and other minorities in vocabulary with the large effect size (ES = 0.67), indicating that the impact of language was a substantive finding (explaining 67% of the total variance). The effect size in vocabulary between Luxembourgers and Portuguese was very large (ES = 0.76; explaining 76% of the total variance). This is an alarming finding since vocabulary is the most pertinent predictor of literacy and literacy and numeracy are the base for the academic achievement of children.
Both studies have important educational implications, suggesting that practitioners should assess language minority children at the start of school in their home language and act upon the outcomes of those assessments to avoid later literacy problems. There is an urgent call for the intervention studies designed particularly at the preschool level since studies showed that good progress in reading in the early years predicts later outcomes even at the age of 11. A bilingual program is recommended.
Fonds National de la Recherche - FnR
http://hdl.handle.net/10993/32112

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