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Specific learning disorder in mathematics in a multilingual education context - Diagnosing with language in mind
Hilger, Vera Aline Jeanne; Ugen, Sonja; Romanovska, Linda et al.
2023Advances in Nmerical Cognition Research - 11th Annual Meeting
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Keywords :
specific learning disorder in mathematics; multilingual context; diagnosis
Abstract :
[en] In the diagnostic process of specific learning disorder in mathematics, individual weaknesses and strengths are identified to provide adequate support and hence minimize the impact on children’s scholastic achievement. In general, diagnostic tools use language to give instructions and present tasks and thus, test language proficiency is prone to impact student’s test performance, especially in linguistically diverse contexts. In Luxembourg, for instance, most children’s home languages differ from the language of math instruction, which is used in the diagnostic process. In addition, given that linguistic heterogeneity is generally not considered in currently used diagnostic instruments, difficulties arising from low language skills need to be disentangled from problems resulting from an underlying learning disorder. To optimize the diagnostic process, we have developed a test battery in mathematics for third-grade children, tailored to a multilingual education context. Based on diagnostic guidelines and neurocognitive models of number processing, we devised a total of 17 subtests addressing different key domains, with reduced language load both in the instructions and within the items. Results from the pilot study (N=211) show significant performance differences based on linguistic backgrounds in three tasks (number naming, number writing, and verbal counting), in favor of children most familiar with the test language. Moreover, we compared general performance in the test battery of a sub-sample (N=116) with the mathematics score of the same children in the Luxembourgish school monitoring program. A significant interaction between test and language profile revealed that differences in performance based on student’s language background profiles were less pronounced in the new test battery than in the monitoring tasks. These findings (a) highlight the importance of considering test language proficiency when diagnosing specific learning disorders and (b) provide first evidence of the new tool’s suitability in a multilingual education setting.
Disciplines :
Education & instruction
Author, co-author :
Hilger, Vera Aline Jeanne ;  University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences (FHSE) > Department of Behavioural and Cognitive Sciences (DBCS)
Ugen, Sonja ;  University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences (FHSE) > LUCET
Romanovska, Linda ;  University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences (FHSE) > LUCET
Schiltz, Christine ;  University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences (FHSE) > Department of Behavioural and Cognitive Sciences (DBCS)
External co-authors :
no
Language :
English
Title :
Specific learning disorder in mathematics in a multilingual education context - Diagnosing with language in mind
Publication date :
22 May 2023
Event name :
Advances in Nmerical Cognition Research - 11th Annual Meeting
Event place :
Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium
Event date :
22-05-2023
Audience :
International
Peer reviewed :
Peer reviewed
Available on ORBilu :
since 26 May 2023

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