EFFECTS OF WORD AND STUDENT FACTORS ON INSTRUCTIONAL REINFORCEMENT IN A VOCABULARY PROGRAM IMPLEMENTED WITH SECOND GRADE BILINGUALS
Madigan Peercy, Megan
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This study investigates effects of a twenty-minute read aloud vocabulary program developed for second grade English language learners (ELLs). In one condition, words were not instructed, in another condition words were reinforced six times, and words were reinforced fourteen times in a third condition. This study also examines generalized English vocabulary knowledge, Spanish language proficiency, and type of word (abstractness and cognate status) as possible influencers on the word learning. Two hundred and twenty-eight students across twelve classrooms participated in this study. This proof-of-concept study employed a within-subjects design where each study participant received each level of treatment. Findings reveal that the vocabulary instruction in the two instructed conditions compared to the exposed condition garnered significant strong positive effects (d=.64). There were small additional positive effects for the added reinforcement in the reinforcement plus condition (d=.24). Learning was promoted with higher levels of generalized English vocabulary knowledge, as determined through the Test of Oral Language Development IV (TOLD) scores on the oral vocabulary subtest. Students scoring in the higher half of the sample with respect to the TOLD performed better on word learning in the exposed and instructed conditions, compared to students who scored in the lower half of the sample with respect to the TOLD (d=.45). However, when comparing the word learning of the students who scored in the higher half of the sample on the TOLD in the reinforcement condition to those students who scored in the lower half of the TOLD in the more intensive reinforcement plus condition, the gap lessens with only small differences between the two groups (d=.21). Higher levels of Spanish language proficiency, as determined through the Aprenda 3 scores, facilitated the acquisition of cognates. Although students in this study more readily acquired the cognates in the exposed condition, the difference between cognates and noncognates dissipated in the instructed conditions. This finding indicates that without instruction, students are bootstrapping onto their cognate knowledge, but when instruction intervenes, students learn both the cognates and noncognates alike. Trends show that concrete words were more easily learned. However, there were no significant differences between abstract and concrete words.