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The Effect of Language Background on Achievement Level and Learning Among Elementary School Students

Alvin S. Rosenthal, Keith Baker and Alan Ginsburg
Sociology of Education
Vol. 56, No. 4 (Oct., 1983), pp. 157-169
DOI: 10.2307/2112545
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2112545
Page Count: 13
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The Effect of Language Background on Achievement Level and Learning Among Elementary School Students
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Abstract

The current study used a nationally representative sample of elementary school students to investigate the effect of language and other home background on achievement level and learning for both reading and math. Results show that socioeconomic status and race/ethnicity variables were more important than language in explaining low achievement among language-minority students. Spanish-language background was more strongly related to reading than to math achievement deficits. The language effect was also much stronger for pre-existing achievement levels than for learning over the school year. Implications of the study findings for government policy are briefly discussed.

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