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Language of instruction, reading achievement, and language proficiency for learning-disabled and non-learning-disabled Hispanic limited English proficient students.

Minority children have consistently received less than an equitable education compared to children of non-minority backgrounds. Inequitable treatment has been evidenced by the disproportionate number of minority children in special education programs. The overrepresentation of minorities has been documented primarily in mentally retarded and learning disabilities (LD) programs. Hispanics (Spanish speakers), in particular, have been among these minorities. The projected increase of Hispanics in the population over the next ten years compounds the problem of overrepresentation. Contributing factors to the overrepresentation of Hispanic students have been attributed to linguistic, cultural, economic or other background characteristics that were misinterpreted as deviant or, more specifically, represented as LD. Studies have superficially investigated the characteristics of Hispanic LD students; especially the educational experiences of LD limited-English proficient (LEP) subjects. The purposes of this study were twofold: (a) to conduct a comparative study of LD LEP and nonLD LEP subjects with regard to the consistency for language of instruction in reading, reading achievement, English and Spanish proficiencies upon school entry, and current language proficiencies and (b) to conduct case studies on selected subjects from the two groups to investigate their language use and quality of language during observed reading lessons. This study used group and multiple case study designs to answer the questions posited in the study. Thirty LEP LD and 30 LEP nonLD 9 through 12 year old subjects were selected. Of the 60 subjects, two LD and two nonLD subjects were selected for case studies based on the consistency for language of instruction in reading. Data were gathered from three data sources: (a) students' cumulative and special education files, (b) classroom observations of subjects' language use during two teacher-planned reading lessons, and (c) interviews with teachers. The file search included all 60 subjects, and the classroom observations and interviews were conducted for the case studies. The results of the large group study indicated that differences in reading achievement existed between LD and nonLD LEP groups. Relationships among consistency for language of instruction, current language proficiencies, and reading achievement were minimal. The findings for the case studies, however, indicated that language performance was qualitatively different for subjects who had received inconsistent language of instruction and subjects who had received consistent language of instruction. Pedagogical and research implications are provided.
Date January 1991
CreatorsDuran, Grace Zamora.
ContributorsBos, Candace S., Healey, William C., Fletcher, Todd, Moll, Luis C., Ruiz, Richard
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
Source SetsUniversity of Arizona
Detected LanguageEnglish
Typetext, Dissertation-Reproduction (electronic)
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.

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