Finding the Key: Examining Language Tests to Identify Predictive Factors
Beld, S. van den
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For Dutch primary schools, many distinct programmes regarding teaching and learning English as a second language exist. Schools using either of two of these programmes, namely Eibo (Engels in het basisonderwijs / English in primary education) and vvto (vroeg vreemdetalenonderwijs / early foreign language education), participated in a study to find out if vvto provided pupils with a significant language skill advantage. Pupils were subjected to a battery of language tests, and this paper analyses the results of the written tests in order to identify a key predictor. Additionally, the paper analysed the reliability of the tests, and it explores the similarities and differences between test correlations per group of participants. The results show that Use of English, testing implicit grammatical knowledge and writing, is a potential key predictor for some of the groups tested, namely group 8 (age 11/12) as a whole and the vvto group 8 pupils in specific. Furthermore, it was found that items pertaining to relevant language production were amongst the most important. All tests were sufficiently reliable with the exception of one test: Reading for vvto group 5 (age 8/9). It was also found that the correlations for group 8 were similar, though with different accents for Eibo and vvto, but the correlations for group 5 were weaker. Overall, the findings herein support the overarching study, though educators should be wary of overfocusing on one aspect of language education.