English Minority Students in Ghana: How Language of Test Administration and Regional Differences Influence Reading Performance on the Ghanaian Achievement Test



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It is estimated that roughly 40% of the world’s population lacks access to education in their native tongues. The impact of language of instruction and NDLL (nondominant language learner) status on academic achievement has received significant attention, but less attention has been given when considering degree of urbanization of where children reside and go to school; thus, careful consideration should be given to how cultural differences across regions in low- and middle- income countries may affect performance patterns when children are being taught in their non-dominant language. Here we consider the impact of language of test administration and degree of urbanization on reading performance on the Ghanaian Achievement Test (GAT) in a large sample (N = 1,309, Mage = 9.48 years, SD = 2.26; 45.5% Female) of Ghanaian children. Those included in this study are from a survey project carried out by The Education Quality for All (EQUALL) Complimentary Education Program in 2005. All participants completed demographics measures and assessments measuring different competencies such as nonverbal intelligence, language, and reading ability. Negative binomial and zero-inflated Poisson data models revealed that both language of test administration and degree of urbanization were significantly related to reading subskill ability and noted differences in predicted scores between NDLLs and DLLs (dominant language learners). Effects of the degree of urbanization and language of test administration varied by subskill, contrary to what we hypothesized. We expected a fairly linear relationship between all GAT reading subskill scores and degree of urbanization, but in some cases semi-urban local language speakers outperformed both their urban- and rural-dwelling counterparts.



Language, Urbanization, Reading, Children, Low- and middle-income countries (LMICS), Culture