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Theses Doctoral

Assessing Bilingual Knowledge Organization in Secondary Science Classrooms

Wu, Jason Sun

Improving outcomes for English language learners (ELLs) in secondary science remains an area of high need. The purpose of this study is to investigate bilingual knowledge organization in secondary science classrooms. This study involved thirty-nine bilingual students in three biology classes at a public high school in The Bronx, New York City. Methods included an in-class survey on language use, a science content and English proficiency exam, and bilingual free- recalls. Fourteen students participated in bilingual free-recalls which involved a semi-structured process of oral recall of information learned in science class. Free-recall was conducted in both English and Spanish and analyzed using flow-map methods. Novel methods were developed to quantify and visualize the elaboration and mobilization of ideas shared across languages. It was found that bilingual narratives displayed similar levels of organizational complexity across languages, though English recalls tended to be longer. English proficiency was correlated with narrative complexity in English. There was a high degree of elaboration on concepts shared across languages. Finally, higher Spanish proficiency correlated well with greater overlapping elaboration across languages. These findings are discussed in light of current cognitive theory before presenting the study’s limitations and future directions of research.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Science Education
Thesis Advisors
Anderson, O. Roger
Mensah, Felicia M.
Degree
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
August 6, 2017
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