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Language Factors and Hispanic Freshmen's Student Profile SAT SDQ

Duran, Richard P.; Enright, Mary K.; Rock, Donald A.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
College Board, Background, College Freshmen, College Students, Hispanic Americans, Language Proficiency, Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), Spanish Speaking, Student Descriptive Questionnaire (SDQ)


This study investigated the role of language factors as potential determinants of Hispanics' educational progress. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship of language background factors to measures of college aptitude as measured by the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and other College Board Admissions Testing Program achievement and placement tests. Language background factors that were studied included amount of exposure to both Spanish and English, frequency of use of the two languages, and proficiency in each language. The principal findings of the study indicated that a large number of non-SDQ language questions were more highly related to SAT and TSWE test performance than was the existing SDQ question 38 (Is English your best language?). Language survey items probing preferences for using Spanish versus English and freshmen's self-ratings of English language proficiency seemed to be the most outstanding predictors of SAT-verbal scores as well as TSWE scores. Many of the language survey questions improved the prediction of the SAT scores by 10 percent or more when used in combination with the SDQ question 38. In addition, the importance of language survey questions as predictors of SAT-verbal scores varied by Spanish language group, with language survey items being most important for Puerto Ricans. (65pp.)

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