THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ENGLISH PROFICIENCY AND DIGIT SPAN PERFORMANCE IN MEXICAN-AMERICAN CHILDREN.
AuthorBurch, Richard Kenneth
AdvisorMishra, Shitala P.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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.
AbstractThe digit span test has long been used in the study and evaluation of memory processes in children. The study of memory processes in bilingual children has received only limited attention. The purpose of the present study was to examine the influences of bilingual interference, English proficiency, and item familiarity on a task of short-term memory. One-hundred nineteen third grade subjects were assigned to one of four groups based on their language background and ethnicity. Subjects were administered the Digit Span subtest from the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Revised in English as well as a test of general ability, the Coloured Progressive Matrices, and a reaction time measure, item identification. The data were analyzed using ANOVA and multiple regression procedures. Results showed that Mexican-American bilingual subjects who were proficient in English performed comparably to monolingual Mexican-American subjects. These results were discussed in terms of their support for the dual storage and independence positions of bilingual memory. Results of the data analysis also revealed a small but significant direct causal link between English proficiency level and digit span. This finding was discussed in terms of its support for the use of digit span measures with bilingual Mexican-American children providing the students have been determined to be proficient in English on a standardized measure. A final finding of the present study concerned the absence of a role for item familiarity as an intervening variable between English proficiency level and digit span. Results showed a direct association between English proficiency level and reaction time, but no significant association between reaction time and digit span. Implications of the current findings were discussed in relation to relevant theory and prior research findings.
Degree ProgramEducational Foundations and Administration