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Journal of Educational Sciences > Volume 24, No. 4, 2012

The Effect of the Medium of Assessment on Speakers of English as a Second Language Children's Achievement in Mathematics, Science and Social Studies  / Abdallah Ahmad Baniabdelrahman,uba Fahmi Bataineh

This study explores the effect of the medium of assessment on the achievement of 26 Arab expatriate children's in mathematics, science, and social studies. The subjects, students at both mainstream schools and an Arab school in the United States of America, have received instruction in both English and their native Arabic for three years. After the treatment, English-English, Arabic-English, English-Arabic, and Arabic-Arabic elicit-response combinations were examined. The findings revealed statistically significant differences in the students' scores in mathematics, science, and social studies due to the method of assessment. The Arabic-Arabic method was found to yield superior scores to its English-Arabic, Arabic-English, and English-English counterparts, respectively.
Introduction Despite its fuzzy logic, the use of the target language as the sole medium of instruction in the foreign/second language classroom remained essentially unchallenged even though it is believed to have resulted more from political than any specific methodological considerations , Auerbach, 1993; Phillipson, 1992; Swain &Lapkin, 2005, . Thus, even though little research has been reported on the advantages, or lack thereof, of the sole use of the target language , henceforth, second Language: L2,  in the foreign/second language , henceforth, Second/ Foreign Language: S/FL,  classroom, sporadic references are made about the benefits of not using the native language/First language , L1,  in S/FL instruction , cf., for example, Cook, 1991; Ellis, 1988; Chambers. 1991; Marsh, Hau, and Kong, 2009, . Ellis , 1984:131,  and, for example, states that it is imperative that classroom management and organization be carried out in L2 on the grounds that L1 will otherwise "deprive the learners of valuable input in the L2". However, a considerable body of research , cf., for example, Atkinson, 1987; Bolitho, 1983; Deller &RinVol.ucri, 2002; Stevick, 1990,  acknowledges the potential advantages of Ll use, without actually providing any hard evidence for these claims, may lend further credence to the assumption that the matter is more ideological than pedagogical. Besides, proponents of Ll use have limited its benefits to low level learners whose more proficient counterparts feel constrained by such use , Auerbach, 1993:23, . A plethora of research , cf., for example, Atkinson, 1987; 1993:2; Auerbach, 1993,  strongly denies the existence of any "solid theoretical evidence to support any case for a methodology inVol.ving 100% TL [L2]". On the contrary, Atkinson , 1987:42, , for example, claims that the frowned-upon translation techniques "form a part of the preferred learning strategies of most learners". Along the same lines, Auerbach , 1993:20,  claims that current theories of Second Language Acquisition suggest that L1 use "reduces anxiety and enhances the affective environment for learning, takes into account socio-cultural factors, facilitates incorporation of learners' life experiences and allows for learner-centered


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