Comparing STAAR Reading Performance Amongst ELs and Monolinguals and the Relationship Between TELPAS and STAAR Proficiencies for Grades 3–5



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Background: A review of the literature indicates that students whose home language is not English are faced with language barriers in the academic setting that are likely to contribute to a delay in acquiring proficiency of the English language as measured by standardized tests. To overcome language barriers, educators must enable a multitude of practices to help meet the needs of English learners (ELs) to narrow the learning gaps, specifically in the area of reading. Purpose: The purpose of this study is twofold: The first purpose is to identify what, if any, significant achievement gap currently exists when ELs are compared with monolinguals on the state standardized tests. The second purpose is to investigate the relationship between the proficiencies of State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) as they relate to ELs' proficiencies on the Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment System (TELPAS). Two research questions were answered: (1) What, if any, achievement gap exists between ELs and monolinguals within the reading domain on the state standardized test for Grades 3–5? (2) Is there a correlation between EL students’ proficiency status on the TELPAS and their performance on the STAAR reading assessment at each grade level? Method: This study utilized a descriptive design with measures of a cross tabulation correlation and determination of a chi-square correlation coefficient with a quantitative analysis of archival district data in an effort to establish what, if any, performance gap existed and determine if a relationship between the state standardized tests existed. The study took place in an urban district in Texas with a total enrollment of approximately 66,000 students where ELs represent approximately 34.5% of the student population. The investigation focused on ELs in Grades 3–5, where the total population for those grades in the district is approximately 16,144. Results: Cross tabulations indicated the ELs continued to underperform on the state reading standardized test when compared with their monolingual peers. The Fisher’s exact test results indicated the correlation was significant (p ≤ .001) with a large effect size for Grades 3, 4, and 5, indicating that the higher a student's TELPAS proficiency, the more likely the student is to score higher on the STAAR reading test. Conclusion: Future research is needed to determine what best practices yield more success for ELs on state standardized tests to continue to narrow the learning gaps.



English learners, Gap