Texas Graduate-Level Bilingual Educators' Perceptions of Assessments for Bilingual Students

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D)


Curriculum and Instruction

Date of Award

Spring 2015


This research study is a qualitative descriptive case study conducted with purposefully-selected graduate-level bilingual educators to study the phenomenon of perceived bias on assessments for bilingual students. Constant comparative analysis resulted in emerging themes from the transcripts of recorded interviews and became the extensive data sources that were used for the study???s purposes in discussing issues with test comparability, testing bias, student impact, and practitioner suggestions for improvement for bilingual assessments. The purpose of the present study was to unravel what graduate-level Texas teachers perceived to be the biasfound in testing for bilingual students. If psychometric evaluation is conducted by teachers with specialist knowledge in both what bilingual learners need with second language acquisition and development and, also, have first-hand experience with assessments, it is believed that better assessments could be developed. With a review of their insights, teachers might become more familiar with the process of creating sound measurement instruments, instead of using tests from a top-down approach of mandated policy, without substantiation in research. An additional purpose of this study was to add to the current body of research in identifying the perceived bias in tests to in order to help lessen said biases when creating assessments for bilingual students. There is a misinterpretation of assessment results when language proficiency acquisition and academic achievement are measured simultaneously (Baker, 2006; Gottlieb, 2006; Harris, 1978; Suarez-Orozco, Suarez-Orozco, & Todorova, 2008). When purposes of these tests are distinguished and isolated, more astute use of data could drive better education decisions (Baayen, Dijkstra, & Mulder, 2015; Baker, 2006; Briscoe, 2014; Clapham & Corson, 1997; Cummins, 1984; Chase, 2001; Darling-Hammond, 2010; Dougherty, 2014; Killion & Harrison, 2006; Kohn, 2000; Lalor & Kirsner, 2001; Longo, 2010; Mehrens, 1998; McNeil, 2009; Moss, 1992; Nezavdal, 2003; Oliveri & Turkan, 2014; Orellana & Reynolds ,2008; Sacks, 2000 Shohamy, 2001; Valdes & Figueroa, 1994; Wiliam, 2010). As a result, educators would be better prepared to meet the needs of their students in the classroom and use this new knowledge in designing instruction that is most relevant to their students (Borg, Plumlee, & Stranahan, 2007; Cadiero-Kaplan & Rodriguez, 2008; Cummins, 1999; Dutcher, 2003, 2004; Freeman & Freeman, 2006; Gottlieb, 2006; Guskey, 2007; Hanushek & Jorgenson, 1996; Mahon, 2006; May, 2005; McGraner & Saenz, 2009; Peyton, Ranard, & McGinnis, 2001; Popham, 2003; 2006; Stroud, 2001; Tingey & Thrall 2002; Tse, 2001).Many themes that were revealed, including the themes of comparability, bias, student impact and teacher improvement are anchored in research (Baker, 2006; Gottlieb, 2006; Morrow & Tracey, 2006) , but some still need more extensive investigation. Implications and recommendations for further research are discussed. In sum, this study adds to the limited research on perceptions of bias and offers possible considerations in future test development for bilingual students in Texas.


Susan Szabo

Subject Categories

Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Curriculum and Instruction | Education