Towards More Multilingual Practices in the Mathematics Assessment of Young Refugee Students: Effects of Testing Language and Validity of Parental Assessment

Z. Attar, W.B.T. Blom, E.M.M. Le Pichon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

The study focuses on the assessment of young refugee students, and the role of language and parents therein. Low achievement at tests can stem from lack of knowledge of the content being tested. However, it can also be due to low proficiency in the language of testing. Additionally, poor communication between refugee parents and schools caused by language or cultural differences may lead to underestimation of children’s potential. We investigated, first, to what extent the language factor affects the performance of young Syrian refugee students in the Netherlands in mathematics and, second, the validity of parents’ judgements of their children’s mathematics ability. A linear mixed-effects model with random intercepts per participant was used to analyze the data. Results showed that the students performed significantly better in their mother tongue than in the school language. Additionally, parents’ ratings of their children’s mathematics ability correlated significantly with the mathematics scores on both versions of the tests. The study confirms the value of linguistically appropriate assessments and parental assessment when accommodating refugee students.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1546-1561
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism
Volume25
Issue number4
Early online date30 Jun 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • Testing language
  • refugee students
  • parental assessment
  • emergent bilingual

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