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Bilingualism and reasoning ability

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Title: Bilingualism and reasoning ability
Author: Trites, Monique Marie Gabrielle
Degree Master of Arts - MA
Program Education
Copyright Date: 1986
Abstract: The purposes of the present study were (1) to investigate relationships between levels of verbal and non verbal reasoning ability and second language acquisition and (2) to examine the concurrent validity of the Test Of Nonverbal Intelligence (TONI) using the WISC-R and the Children's Word Finding Test as criteria and to verify the equivalence of the two forms of the TONI. The present study was conducted because of the controversy that exists in the literature, over the relationship between bilingualism and cognitive ability. While previous research used "general intelligence" tests to investigate differences between unilinguals and bilinguals, the present study examined a more precise construct: verbal and non-verbal reasoning ability in Grade 3 French Immersion students as compared to Grade 3 Non French Immersion Students. All students came from homes in which English was the only language spoken, had been continuously enrolled from kindergarten through the end of Grade 3 in their current academic programs, and were not attending Learning Assistance centers. The two groups came from families with high socioeconomic status. An analysis of variance was used to compare the two groups on the WISC-R, the TONI and the Children's Word Finding Test. Correlations between scores on the three tests were calculated to verify the level of equivalence of the two forms of the TONI, and of the validity of the TONI concurrently with the WISC-R and with the Children's Word Finding Test. The French Immersion group scored higher than the Non-French Immersion group on the TONI -A (p = .07) and the Children's Word Finding Test (p = .10) and significantly higher on the Performance Scale and Full Scale of the WISC-R. After controlling for variability on cognitive ability levels (WISC-R), the French Immersion group still scored higher than the Non-French Immersion group on the TONI A and the Children's Word Finding Test (p = .09). The TONI correlated poorly with the WISC-R, as well as with the Children's Word Finding Test. The low correlation of the TONI with the WISC-R was explained by the difference in the range of the age interval of the norms of each test. The coefficient of equivalence of the two forms of the TONI was significantly lower than that reported by the authors of the technical manual. Furthermore, an order effect was found for both French Immersion and Non-French Immersion groups, when the Form A of the TONI was administered first (This was not however, the case when the Form B of the TONI was administered first). When the TONI A was given first the correlation between the scores of the TONI A and TONI B was high for the French Immersion group but not for the Non-French Immersion group. It was concluded that although interpretation of the results is confounded by possible initial differences between groups, the French Immersion group demonstrated a tendency towards better verbal and non-verbal inductive and deductive reasoning ability (p = .09). Further, it was concluded that the two forms of the TONI are not equivalent and that there is an order effect when TONI A is administered first, but not when TONI B is administered first. Further research is needed on this test before it can be considered a reliable substitute for the WISC-R.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/26619
Series/Report no. UBC Retrospective Theses Digitization Project [http://www.library.ubc.ca/archives/retro_theses/]
Scholarly Level: Graduate

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