The Effect of Test Translation on the Performance of Second Grade English Learners on the KeyMath-3


  • This material is based on work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. SBE-0548130. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. We would like to thank all the participants and their families and schools. We also are grateful to the work of the many students in the L4Lab.

Correspondence to: Mary Alt, Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, University of Arizona, 1131 E. 2nd Street, Tucson, AZ 85721. E-mail:


This study was conducted to determine whether Spanish-enhanced administration of a standardized math assessment would result in improved scores for English Learners who used Spanish as a heritage language. Twenty-one typically developing second-graders (English Learners) were administered the traditional KeyMath-3. If the child made an error on an item, a Spanish version of the item was presented. Difference scores were calculated to determine whether the Spanish-enhanced version resulted in improved scores. Data were analyzed using paired t-tests and simple regression. The data results showed that all children significantly benefited from the Spanish-enhanced administration of items answered incorrectly in English. The amount of benefit was predicted by a child's degree of Spanish dominance. It was concluded that standardized math tests that do not accommodate second-language learners may be inadvertently testing language skills in addition to math skills. Implications for assessment and interpretations of assessments are discussed.