The importance of cultural competence when evaluating bilingual students

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Castro, Maria-Ines
Child Psychology; Student Counseling and Personnel Services
thesis / dissertation description
The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of language and culture on Hispanic student test taking performance. Specifically, the researcher hypothesized that Hispanic students' test taking performance would be impacted by the language used on the assessment given, and the test administrator's awareness, knowledge, and skills related to cultural competence. Twelve bilingual-Hispanic students from Rowan University-Camden completed a Nelson-Denny Reading Test for the purpose of this research project. The same test was presented to all students in an English version and a Spanish version. A Mixed Design with repeated measures indicated that there was no significant difference in test performance based on which test was administered first. There was also no interaction. However, there was a modest difference in test scores when students took the test in their primary versus secondary language. Overall, students' scores were higher on the Spanish version. In addition to the data collected through the test results, interesting trends were found related to the test administrator's awareness of language, culture, and cultural competence when administering the Nelson-Denny Reading Test to bilingual students.