When the language of instruction is English, the learning of mathematics by students for whom English is a second language raises some important issues. The complex process of learning a second language becomes especially difficult when the language forms learned first arc those of the classroom. The learning of mathematics requires a variety of linguistic skills that second-language learners may not have mastered. Furthermore. special problems of reliability and validity arise in assessing the mathematics achievement of students from a language minority. A mathematics curriculum is needed that would develop second-language skills, and more research is needed into the relation between second-language learning and mathematics learning.
Gilberto J. Cuevas
Maria M. Llabre and Gilberto Cuevas
A sample of 408 bilingual Hispanic students in Grades 4 and 5 took the same mathematics achievement test in Spanish and in English, with the order counterbalanced within the sample. The students performed better when tested in English than in Spanish and when tested on concepts than on applications. The higher the level of English reading comprehension, the better the total test performance and the smaller the difference between concepts and applications scores.