Academic journal article Reading Horizons (Online)

A Socio-Psycholinguistic Perspective on Biliteracy: The Use of Miscue Analysis as a Culturally Relevant Assessment Tool

Academic journal article Reading Horizons (Online)

A Socio-Psycholinguistic Perspective on Biliteracy: The Use of Miscue Analysis as a Culturally Relevant Assessment Tool

Article excerpt

Researchers and educators place the assessment of bilingual readers under a microscope. The overidentification and the mislabeling of bilingual students to special education and other remedial services call for more culturally and pedagogically relevant assessments from the research and educational communities (Everatt, Reid, & Elbeheri, 2014; Geva, 2000; Rueda & Windmueller, 2006). Some researchers have uncovered how large-scale, standardized tests contain cultural biases resulting in bilingual students performing poorly (Artlies, Harry, Reschly, & Chinn, 2002; Everatt et al., 2014). The difficulties that educators face in not having the wherewithal to assess children's reading in a culturally and linguistically relevant manner have raised a call for alternative forms of culturally relevant assessments.

The argument for culturally relevant assessments is based on the concept of culturally responsive teaching (CRT; Gay, 2000). Gay (2000) elaborated by describing how culturally relevant teaching involves the "cultural knowledge, prior experiences, frames of reference, and performance styles of ethnically diverse students to make learning more relevant to and effective [for students]" (p. 29). Therefore, culturally relevant assessments are tools for evaluating students as they draw from their range of linguistic knowledge and language resources to communicate what they know. Culturally relevant assessments, like teaching practices, incorporate the cultural knowledge, prior experiences, and performance styles of bilingual students. They are vital for determining the academic achievement of linguistically diverse students in classrooms.

Crossing interdisciplinary perspectives to the assessment of bilingual children in educational settings, this article will examine how the use of miscue analysis can act as a culturally relevant assessment tool in evaluating the oral reading performances and behaviors of two bilingual readers across different spoken and written languages. Long accepted as a classroom tool to evaluate the reading behaviors of readers, miscue analysis is a set of procedures that allows researchers and educators to investigate readers' miscues, or observed responses that differ from an expected response. Miscue analysis is built on the works of Goodman (1996) and Goodman, Watson, and Burke (2005), who draw from socio-psycholinguistic perspectives to elucidate how reading is a transactive process in which readers integrate language cues and psycholinguistic strategies to construct meaning. Socio-psycholinguistic perspectives to reading place meaning at the core of the reading process. Although a growing number of studies have incorporated miscue analysis with bilingual readers, there is little discussion about using miscue analysis with bilingual readers to assess their developing biliteracy, especially in assessing not only how they read English texts but also texts written in other languages and in other writing systems.

After discussing the theoretical framework that positions the reading process as transcending language boundaries, I will present two bilingual reader profiles: one on Jenny, a Spanish- and English-speaking student, and the other on Mai, a Japanese- and English-speaking student. After exploring miscue analysis as a culturally relevant assessment tool in understanding bilingual reading behaviors, I will conclude with the benefits and the challenges of using miscue analysis with bilingual readers, and the implications of incorporating miscue analysis as a reading assessment tool in classrooms.

Theoretical Perspectives on Reading Across Languages

Socio-psycholinguistic perspectives on reading position it as a language process during which readers construct meaning as they read (Goodman, 1996). As such, this perspective allows researchers to examine reading through the ways in which readers make sense as they read through the study of miscues. Readers' miscues are windows into the reading process composed of the language cueing systems and psycholinguistic strategies (Goodman, 1996). …

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