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Durham e-Theses
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The assessment of bilingual children’s reading comprehension

Buttar, Harshindar Kaur (1997) The assessment of bilingual children’s reading comprehension. Masters thesis, Durham University.



The study aims to show that bilingual children's performance in a linguistic comprehension test may be affected by the language of assessment English, their second language. 36 bilingual, primary school children aged between 7 and 9 years were assessed in the reading comprehension component of the SATs in their first language, Punjabi. Their performance on this assessment was compared with :(i) their comprehension of the same passage in English, and(ii) monolingual children's comprehension of the passage in English. Analysis of the findings suggest that bilingual children have a broader range of language skills and a more fully developed comprehension repertoire, which includes listening skills, than their monolingual peers. The study discusses the various definitions and theories of bilingualism and second language acquisition. It also looks at how the current assessment procedures affect the performance of bilingual learners in UK's primary schools. The rationale of this research is supported by other studies of the similarities between reading and listening comprehension and how the read aloud approach was used to overcome any differences between the two. A macro and micro view of the linguistic backgrounds of the sample of children is discussed. The Preferred Language Questionnaire's methodology, collation of data and interpretation of the children's responses is presented. This is followed by the two reading comprehension tests and the results of the assessments are followed by a detailed discussion on the relationship between bilingual children's linguistic usage and linguistic comprehension skills. The study ends with recommendations for future testing of bilingual learners. The findings suggest that bilingual children have a very wide and sophisticated linguistic repertoire, including comprehension and listening skills, that is being ignored or overlooked in the current modes of official school assessments. The results of the reading comprehension tests have implications for bilingual and monolingual teachers, parents and children in primary schools. The study will outline alternate classroom methods and assessments appropriate for testing bilingual children's linguistic competence. Finally, the study concludes that the current assessment procedures (SATs) are not only inappropriate for bilingual children but they may impact on their broader educational outcomes.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1997
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:13 Sep 2012 15:52

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