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Young Spanish–English Dual-Language Learners (Language and Reading Research Consortium, 2015)

posted on 2015-06-01, 00:00 authored by Language and Reading Research Consortium (LARRC)
Purpose This study examined the latent dimensionality of Spanish in young Spanish–English dual-language learners (DLLs).
Method Two hundred eighty-six children participated. In their prekindergarten year, children completed norm-referenced and experimental language measures in Spanish requiring different levels of cognitive processing in both receptive and expressive language modalities.
Results The best-fitting model suggested a bifactor solution with a single general language factor L plus two additional factors word knowledge and integrative language knowledge. The general trait L reflects the proportion of common item variance for all of the items, and the group traits of word knowledge and integrative language knowledge explain additional domain-specific variance for those item subsets.
Conclusion Results suggest that the Spanish language in preschool-age Spanish–English DLLs is not separable into content, form, and use, nor is it separable by higher- and lower-level language domains or processing demands. Instead it appears that a general language factor underlies oral language in Spanish in DLL preschoolers and that other factors account for additional variance over and above L. Findings are discussed in relation to a companion study of monolingual English-speaking prekindergarteners.


This article was prepared by a Task Force of the Language and Reading Research Consortium (LARRC) consisting of collaborators Shelley Gray, Ann A. O'Connell, Jill Pentimonti, and Maria Adelaida Restrepo. The following LARRC project sites and investigators were contributors to this article: Ohio State University (Columbus): Laura M. Justice (Site PI), Richard Lomax, Ann O'Connell, Stephen A. Petrill, Shayne B. Piasta; Arizona State University (Tempe): Shelley Gray (Site PI), Maria Adelaida Restrepo; Lancaster University (Lancaster, United Kingdom): Kate Cain (Site PI); University of Kansas (Lawrence): Hugh Catts (Site PI; Hugh Catts is now at Florida State University), Mindy Bridges, Diane Nielsen; University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Lincoln): Tiffany Hogan (Site PI; Tiffany Hogan is now at MGH Institute of Health Professions), Jim Bovaird, J. Ron Nelson (J. Ron Nelson was a LARRC coinvestigator from 2010 to 2012). This work was supported by Grant R305F100002 from the Institute of Education Sciences' Reading for Understanding Initiative, awarded to The Ohio State University (Laura Justice, PI). We are deeply grateful to the numerous staff, research associates, school administrators, teachers, children, and families who participated. Key personnel at study sites include: Garey Berry, Beau Bevens, Jennifer Bostic, Shara Brinkley, Lori Chleborad, Dawn Davis, Michel Eltschinger, Tamarine Foreman, Rashaun Geter, Sara Gilliam, Miki Herman, Trudy Kuo, Gustavo Lujan, Carol Mesa, Denise Meyer, Maria Moratto, Marcie Mutters, Trevor Rey, and Stephanie Williams. The views presented in this work do not represent those of the federal government, nor do they endorse any products or findings presented herein.


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