Graduation Year

2003

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Applied Behavior Analysis

Major Professor

Austin, Jennifer L.

Keywords

verbal behavior, esol, esl, second language, behavioral language assessment

Abstract

English language learners are traditionally behind in academics such as reading, math and science. Hispanics, who make up the vast majority of English language learners, tend to not enroll in pre-school or higher education, have higher dropout rates and as adults earn less than whites. Common instructional strategies used in public schools are not meeting the needs of these students. The field of TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) has typically offered a wide variety of poorly defined teaching strategies that are not based on empirical research. Within public schools, assessment tends to serve the purpose of qualifying students for ESOL services rather than being used to guide instruction.

The present study examined using the Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills (ABLLS) with three English language learners in an elementary public school setting to discern its usefulness for teachers and students. Results showed that the ABLLS could be used for English language learners, and teachers generally liked the assessment information, although the current assessment may be too lengthy and time intensive to be practical for regular education settings. Also, it did not appear that reviewing the ABLLS assessment had much effect on teacher behavior in terms of changes in instructional strategies used for the three students, although teachers did indicate that they would target different skills as a result of viewing the assessment. Suggestions are made for developing a modified version of the ABLLS for use with English language learners.

Possible trends in student data are examined, as well as possible teaching strategies that may be suggested by the ABLLS.

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