Date of Award

6-1-2015

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Education/Leadership in Urban Schools

First Advisor

Wenfan Yan

Second Advisor

Zeena Zakharia

Third Advisor

Jack Levy

Abstract

This study analyzed English language learner (ELL) performance on the June 2012 Biology MCAS, namely on item attributes of domain, cognitive skill, and linguistic complexity. It examined the impact of English proficiency, Latinate first language, first language orthography, and late-entry ELL status. The results indicated that English proficiency was a strong predictor of performance and that ELLs at higher levels of English proficiency overwhelmingly passed. The results further indicated that English proficiency introduced a construct-irrelevant variance on the Biology MCAS and raised validity issues for using this assessment at lower levels of English proficiency. This study also found that ELLs with a Latinate first language consistently had statistically significant lower performance. Late-entry ELL status did not predict Biology MCAS performance.