Passage Reading Fluency in Spanish and English: The Relation to State Assessment Outcomes in English for Students in a Dual-language Context
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The United States is experiencing an increase in young students developing literacy in English and Spanish. Schools providing dual-language English/Spanish instruction need technically adequate tools to assess reading skills in the languages of instruction, and interpretation of results needs to acknowledge the complexity of cross-linguistic learning. Although passage reading fluency in English strongly predicts overall reading proficiency in English in the primary grades and there is some indication that passage reading fluency in Spanish provides equivalent information regarding Spanish reading skills, rarely have the two been examined simultaneously and within a dual-language instructional context. The current study examined predictive and concurrent validity of passage reading fluency in English and Spanish within third grade within a dual-language instructional environment. Using a state assessment of reading as the criterion measure, a correlational design was used to investigate the relation between passage reading fluency in English and Spanish and performance on the statewide assessment of reading in English. Findings indicate that within a dual-language context, passage reading fluency in English is the stronger predictor of performance on the state assessment in English, regardless of the student's home language. Spanish reading fluency is also strongly related to English reading fluency but did not explain additional variance in predicting performance on the statewide large-scale assessment of reading in English beyond what English fluency explained. Results are consistent with the idea that same language assessments are more predictive of reading performance than cross-language assessments are, but the benefits of formative assessment in the language of instruction remain.