Joshua Sussman and Karen Draney: Language and Literacy Trajectories for Dual Language Learners (DLLs) With Different Home Languages: Linguistic Distance and Implications for Practice

January 24, 2023

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

2:00 - 4:00 PM (PST) at Berkeley Way West 1204 and via Zoom

Open to GSE faculty, students, and community.

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Teachers'/providers' pedagogically-relevant understanding of bilingual language and literacy development is an important ingredient in high quality early care and education for the large and growing number of children who grow up in homes where a language other than English is regularly spoken.

This study examined developmental trajectories in language and literacy among children from different home language backgrounds in publicly funded infant/toddler care, preschool, and kindergarten programs. According to teachers' responses to developmental assessment rubrics, children showed similar trajectories of language and literacy development from infancy through 5 years, regardless of the language spoken at home. All children experienced an initial period of rapid growth that slowed between 10 and 30 months, held steady between 30 and 45 months, and then accelerated again from 45 to 60 months of age.

Although the general patterns were similar, children classified as dual language learners grew less than their monolingual peers between 10 and 30 months but then grew more than their monolingual peers after 45 months. Specific developmental milestones were associated with the emerging and then waning differences, and greater linguistic similarity between a home language and English was associated with greater language and literacy development.

This talk will spotlight aspects of the assessment model that support pedagogically-relevant inferences about children's developmental trajectories. We will also discuss how teachers/providers who apply this information may provide greater support for children from culturally and linguistically diverse families, for example, by modifying their instruction in ways that target potential developmental "sticking points."

About the speakers:

Joshua Sussman is a researcher with the Berkeley Evaluation and Assessment Research (BEAR) Center at the University of California, Berkeley, where he uses quantitative and psychometric methods to study trajectories of learning and development in early childhood. His psychometric research focuses on adapting assessment systems to better meet the needs of teachers and students. He is the principal investigator for an American Educational Research Association–funded research grant examining dual language learners’ early language and literacy development. He earned his Ph.D. in Education (School Psychology) from the University of California, Berkeley.

Karen Draney is the Co-Director of the Berkeley Evaluation and Assessment Research (BEAR) Center at the University of California, Berkeley, and an adjunct professor in the Berkeley School of Education. Her areas of interest and expertise include the development of assessment systems that are centered on constructs and learning progressions and the use of psychometric models to provide usable, actionable information. She is the author of numerous articles and chapters on educational measurement and assessment.