First Advisor

Leslie J. Munson

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership: Special and Counselor Education


Special Education




Woodcock-Muñoz Language Survey Second language acquisition Bilingualism -- United States -- Evaluation



Physical Description

1 online resource (197 p.)


Within each classroom, many children excel academically while others struggle. Some students' difficulties are such that they require placement into educational programs different from grade level core and perhaps delivered outside of general education classrooms. For many, special education programs are the lifeline to reach their innate potential. For others misplaced into special education, their opportunities may be truncated. For the past 40 years (Dunn, 1968), disproportionate representation of minority children in some disability categories has been a problem. Educators commonly ask "Is a child's difficulties due to language differences or a learning disability?" One key area of confusion relates to the cognitive assessment of English language learner (ELL) students. While it is understandable that scores generated by English cognitive tests will not reflect an ELL child's true abilities, less is known about the appropriate use of native language (Spanish) cognitive assessments.

This study examined the performance of ELL general education students on the Bateria III: Pruebas de habilidades cognitivas, a Spanish parallel to the Woodcock-Johnson JJI. The performance of 34 third- and fourth-grade participants, 16 who have received native language literacy development (NLD), and 18 who have received English language development, was compared to the normative sample's (monolingual Spanish speakers) General Intellectual Achievement (GIA) score, subtest and cluster scores.

ANOVA and t test analyses indicated both ELL groups scored significantly lower than the normative sample on GIA, short-term memory, long-term retrieval and crystallized intelligence and higher on auditory processing. Thus, the Bateria's scores from these factors may underestimate the abilities of ELL students. Correlation analyses were conducted to examine the relationships between language proficiency, acculturation and performance. No significant relationships were found. The last analysis compared subtest mean scores of the ELD group to Flanagan and Ortiz's (2001) predicted pattern of performance on the Culture-Language Interpretive Matrix (C-LIM) for diverse individuals when tested on the WJ-HI. The score patterns of the ELD group did not follow the predicted pattern. A new arrangement of the Bateria's subtests on the C-LIM is suggested. These findings highlight the need for more research to understand how ELL students perform on Spanish cognitive assessments.


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