by Jen Donovan
The National Center for Education Statistics recently released the issue brief entitled Reading, Mathematics, and Science Achievement of Language-Minority Students in Grade 8. This study considered students that were tracked with the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998–99 (ECLS-K) which focused on examining the achievement of a nationally representative group of children who were in Kindergarten in 1998-99.
The analysis of this study considered students’ scores on standardized tests that were administered at the end of their 8th grade year. The students were classified into four groups according to language background and English efficiency. From this the assessment, scores were grouped into three characteristics:
- Student’s race or ethnicity
- Poverty status
- Mother’s education level
Significant findings of the study include:
- Students who entered kindergarten as proficient in English, regardless of their home language, scored higher on the ECLS-K eighth-grade reading, math, and science assessments than language minority students who became proficient in English after starting kindergarten.
- Non-Hispanic language-minority students who were English proficient either when they started or when they completed kindergarten scored higher than their Hispanic peers in reading, math, and science in grade 8.
- Regardless of home language or English proficiency, those students with the most highly educated mothers generally had the highest scores in all three subjects, while those students with the least educated mothers generally had the lowest scores.
Jen Donovan is the strategic communications intern at the International Reading Association.