Science education and the medium of instruction: Does the language of instruction affect science achievement?
AdvisorBrown, Edward D.
Committee ChairBrown, Edward D.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe purpose of this study was to determine if there were differences in science achievement among two groups assigned to two different treatments, teaching in Arabic or English, of Arab children from three linguistic backgrounds: Arabic dominant speakers, English dominant speakers, and bilingual speakers. A secondary purpose was to investigate the effect of gender differences in science achievement. In addition, an inventory, entitled Language and Learning Science Inventory (LLSI) was administered to all the students. The sample included 51 fifth grade boys and girls enrolled in the Islamic Saudi Academy School in Fairfax, Virginia during the fall semester of 1988-89. The design of this study followed the sequence of pre-test--treatment--post-test. There were two different treatments. The first was the teaching of science in Arabic and the second the teaching of science in English. Three research hypotheses were investigated in this study: (1) the achievement in science of fifth grade students will be significantly higher for Arabic dominant students than for the English dominant and bilingual students, when Arabic is the medium of instruction. (2) The achievement in science of fifth grade students will be significantly higher for the English dominant students than for the Arabic dominant and bilingual students, when English is the medium of instruction. (3) There will be no significant difference between boys' and girls' scores, regardless of the language of teaching, in respect to the change of scores on science knowledge from pre-test to post-test. The research hypotheses were evaluated by using the analysis of variance with repeated measure. It was found that there was no significant difference in achievement for the language of teaching, there was no significant difference for language dominance, and there was a significant difference in achievement between boys and girls, with boys scoring higher than girls. At the end of the final instructional sequence, the LLSI was administered to all students. The students' overall reaction was that the science activities were challenging and easy to understand.
Degree ProgramTeaching and Teacher Education