A multilingual approach to analysing standardized test results: immigrant primary school children and the role of languages spoken in a bi-/multilingual community

Author(s): De Angelis, Gessica

Date: 2014

Pages: p. 14-28

The present study adopts a multilingual approach to analysing the standardized test results of primary school immigrant children living in the bi-/multilingual context of South Tyrol, Italy. The standardized test results are from the Invalsi test administered across Italy in 2009/2010. In South Tyrol, several languages are spoken on a daily basis and the long-established ethnic groups are speakers of German (69%), Italian (26%) and Ladin (4%). While the language of instruction for immigrant children attending Italian language schools is Italian, these children live in Italian- or German-speaking environments. The author argues that standardized testing data should be analysed in conjunction with local language information to better serve the educational needs of bi-/multilingual children. The Italian test results of I and II Generation immigrant children (n = 225) are re-examined in light of the languages spoken in their living environment. Results show that the approach used is useful in identifying information that would have otherwise remained undetected. The additional data provide valuable input for school administrators, educators and policy-makers and can be used to devise suitable remedial measures for immigrant children attending school in bi-/multilingual environments.

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