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Adding Marginalization, Subtracting Scores, Multiplying Inequities, Dividing People: Low Math Performance Predictors in English Language Learners

Fri, April 9, 10:40am to 12:10pm EDT (10:40am to 12:10pm EDT), SIG Sessions, SIG-Bilingual Education Research Paper and Symposium Sessions


English Language Learners (ELL) often underperform on standardized math tests. With 22% of the school population being bilingual and growing, we considered it crucial to investigate if teaching math in English affects ELL students’ math performance. We used the 2015 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 4th grade USA dataset to answer: Does speaking a home language different from the language of instruction affect math test performance? Other factors were also tested as predictors of math performance. Hierarchical multiple regression results suggested that learning math in a language different than their home language negatively affected children’s math performance in 4th grade. This effect was exacerbated by bullying, lack of math preference, and gender membership. Research’s significance is discussed.