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IES Grant

Title: Designing Assessment to Enhance English Literacy Development Among Spanish-Speaking Children in Grades K–3
Center: NCER Year: 2009
Principal Investigator: Invernizzi, Marcia Awardee: University of Virginia
Program: Reading and Writing      [Program Details]
Award Period: 4 years Award Amount: $1,599,187
Goal: Measurement Award Number: R305A090015
Description:

Co-Principal Investigators: Karen Ford, Xito Fan, Igone Arteagoitia, and Timothy Landrum

Purpose: On the 2007 National Assessment of Educational Progress, only 49% of Hispanic fourth-graders (compared to 77% of non-Hispanic White fourth-graders) and only 57% of Hispanic eighth-graders (compared to 83% of non-Hispanic White eighth-graders) scored at or above the basic level in reading. In order to support the development of good reading skills, accurate assessment and identification of strengths and weaknesses early in development is of critical importance. Reading assessments administered in English can be effective for identifying English language learners at risk for problems with reading in English. However, assessment in the native language is also important for children who speak little or no English to identify literacy skills in the native language that can be leveraged to support the development of literacy skills in English. In this study, the researchers will develop a Spanish version of the widely used Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS) assessment to support the development of English literacy in Spanish-speaking English language learners. Currently, over 17,000 kindergarten through third-grade teachers across the United States use the existing English version of PALS to diagnose early reading difficulties and monitor progress to inform their classroom instruction. Rather than simply translating this version into Spanish, the researchers will create PALS español using empirical evidence of Spanish literacy development. PALS español will be an assessment tool to identify strengths and weaknesses in Spanish-speaking children’s native language development to facilitate their development of English literacy skills.

Project Activities: The researchers will develop and validate PALS español, a Spanish version of the Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS) assessment. PALS español will be designed for use by teachers in kindergarten through third grade to diagnose reading difficulties and monitor progress in Spanish literacy among Spanish-speaking students to support their development of English literacy skills. The researchers will engage in several tasks to develop and validate PALS español, including item pool construction, graphic design work, and field testing to establish reliability and validity for the assessment.

Products: The products of this project will be two parallel forms of PALS español, a fully developed and validated Spanish version of the Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS) assessment for use with Spanish-speaking English language learners in kindergarten through third grade, technical manuals for both forms, a set of instructional guides for teachers (e.g., a hotline for teachers to call, online resources) to demonstrate how information gathered from PALS español can be used to inform literacy instruction and facilitate reading in English, and published reports.

STRUCTURED ABSTRACT

Setting: Field testing will take place in schools located in Minnesota, New York, Texas, Virginia, and Washington, DC.

Population: A minimum of 4,000 children in kindergarten through third grade (1,000 at each grade level) who speak Spanish as their first language, and their teachers.

Assessment: PALS español, a valid and reliable Spanish version of the Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS) assessment. This reading assessment will be used by teachers in kindergarten through third grade to diagnose reading difficulties and monitor progress in Spanish literacy among Spanish-speaking students in the early elementary grades to inform instruction and support development of English literacy skills.

Research Design and Methods: The researchers will engage in several tasks to develop and validate PALS español, including item pool construction, graphic design work, and field testing to establish reliability and concurrent and predictive validity.

Control Condition: There is no control condition.

Key Measures: To establish the concurrent validity of PALS español, the researchers will use teacher ratings of children’s Spanish reading proficiency, the Test of Phonological Awareness in Spanish (TPAS), and the Tejas Lee: El inventorio de lectura en español de Tejas. To establish the predictive validity of PALS español, the researchers will use children’s scores on the English PALS, standardized tests (e.g., the Stanford Achievement Test, 10th Edition - SAT 10), and state standards assessments in English and reading (e.g., Virginia’s Standards of Learning - SOL).

Data Analytic Strategy: Content analysis by an expert panel and pilot-testing will be used to establish the linguistic and cultural appropriateness of the items and the clarity of the task directions, as well as potential content bias due to gender or Spanish language dialect. Item difficulty and item discrimination will be assessed to identify weak or poor-performing items (e.g., low ceiling items, items with no discrimination). The parallel forms of the test will be equated using a statistical equating procedure. Differential item functioning analyses will determine the effects of gender, geographical subgroup, and socioeconomic status. Internal consistency reliability, test/retest reliability, and inter-rater reliability will be assessed to determine the consistency of the test outcomes. A variety of validity analyses will be run, including content validity, concurrent validity, and predictive validity, as well as construct validity using factor analysis of the sub-domain structure and discriminant analysis to verify that the assessment accurately identifies students at-risk for reading difficulties in Spanish.

Related IES Projects: Developing an Early Literacy Assessment for Spanish-Speaking Children in Preschool: PALS español PreK (R305A130469)

Project website: https://pals.virginia.edu/tools-espanol.html

Publications

Journal article, monograph, or newsletter

Ford, K., Cabell, S., Konold, T., Invernizzi, M., and Gartland, L. (2013). Diversity Among Spanish-Speaking English Language Learners: Profiles of Early Literacy Skills in Kindergarten. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 26(6): 889–912.

Ford, K.L., Invernizzi, M.A., and Huang, F. (2014). Predicting First Grade Reading Achievement for Spanish-Speaking Kindergartners: Is Early Literacy Screening in English Valid?. Literacy Research and Instruction, 53(4): 269–286.

Ford, K., Invernizzi, M., and Huang, F. (2018). The Effect of Orthographic Complexity On Spanish Spelling in Grades 1–3. Reading and Writing, 31(5), 1063–1081.

Ford, K., Invernizzi, M., and Tortorelli, L. (2012). PALS Español: Why Assess in Spanish?. Reading in Virginia: The Journal Virginia State Reading Association, 35: 35–42.


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