The effects of program model and language on science TAKS scores among fifth graders

Stephanie Zelenak, University of Texas at El Paso

Abstract

This study examined the conditions of learning allowing students in one classroom to succeed on the fifth grade science TAKS test whereas students in other classrooms on the same campus do not succeed. It focused on the relationship of program models, specifically as it pertains to the influence of language within the content area of science and student performance on the fifth grade science TAKS scores.^ To compare the academic achievement, as measured by the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test, in grade five students as a function of program model, the mean levels of achievement of students served by straight monolingual, 50/50 TWB (Spanish component of dual), 50/50 TWM (English component of dual) and 90/10 OWB programs were examined. The mean levels of achievement of students on the fifth grade science TAKS were also compared as a function of language of instruction and the language in which the test was administered to the students. The mean levels of achievement of students were also compared as a function of various teacher characteristics. An analysis of variance (ANOVA) was the statistical procedure used in this study.^ The findings of this study revealed that a statistically significant difference was present in TAKS science scores as a function of Program Model. Students in a Two-Way (dual) program model outperformed the students in the One-Way model. No significant differences were found in the mean scores of students as a function of teachers' area of certification, teachers' source of certification, teachers' first language, teachers' language of formal education, or teacher/student language match. In the analysis of teacher characteristics, students taught by teachers educated in the U.S. in grades K-12 significantly outscored the students taught by teachers educated in Mexico in grades K-12. Students taught by teachers with a master's degree significantly outscored students taught by teachers without a master's degree. The students taught by teachers with less than two years of experience were significantly outscored by the students taught by teachers with more than two years of experience.^ Of the students who passed the grade 5 science TAKS test in the 2007-2008 school year, 87% shared a match between their test language and the teacher's language of formal education. Of the students who did not pass, 44% did not share a match between their test language and the teacher's language of formal education. A statistically significant difference was found to be present in TAKS science scores as a function of Language of Instruction. Students who were instructed in English-only scored significantly higher on the grade five science TAKS test than did students who were instructed in English and Spanish. A statistically significant difference was present in TAKS science scores as a function of test language. Students who took the grade five science TAKS test in English scored significantly higher than students who took the test in Spanish.^ To determine the availability of instructional materials and resources provided to WTSD teachers in English and Spanish, teachers' responses were analyzed from the teacher survey. Survey responses revealed that there is availability to instructional materials in both English and Spanish with the exception of science content literature, which is not reported to be available in Spanish. Other materials have some availability in Spanish but not to the same degree as that which is available in English.^

Subject Area

Education, Bilingual and Multicultural|Education, Tests and Measurements|Education, Elementary|Education, Sciences

Recommended Citation

Zelenak, Stephanie, "The effects of program model and language on science TAKS scores among fifth graders" (2009). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI3341660.
http://digitalcommons.utep.edu/dissertations/AAI3341660

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