Analyzing Spelling Performance Among Native Spanish-Speaking English Language Learners Utilizing Latent Class Analysis and Contextual Factors
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English language learners (ELLs) make up an increasingly large portion of the population in American schools. Improving the literacy skills of these students is critical to their life-long success as these students have lower performance and higher dropout rates than their native English-speaking peers. The orthographic differences between Spanish and English present a unique challenge for native Spanish-speaking ELLs, and understanding the effects of the Spanish orthography on the acquisition of literacy skills in English is a critical step to improving these students’ literacy. Spelling is a crucial literacy skill as it affects one’s ability to read, write, and complete daily tasks. This study examined the English and Spanish spelling performance of 209 native Spanish speaking ELLs in Grades 4 and 5. Students completed an English spelling inventory and a Spanish spelling inventory, each of which contained 25 spelling words. The words were examined for errors, and analyzed using latent class analysis, a 7-point spelling rubric, and feature analysis, which was included with each spelling inventory. The teachers of the participants were interviewed to determine ways in which the spelling instruction and assessment students receive in the classroom impact their spelling performance. The spelling errors made by the native Spanish-speaking ELLs were indicative of the orthographies. Additionally, ELLs appeared to have an advantage when learning to spell in English where consistencies exist between the two orthographies. However, these students do still struggle when inconsistencies arise. These students made English- influenced errors when spelling in their native language, Spanish, indicating that they do not have a firm grasp on the differences between the two orthographies.
Lindner, Amanda Layne (2018). Analyzing Spelling Performance Among Native Spanish-Speaking English Language Learners Utilizing Latent Class Analysis and Contextual Factors. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from