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Abstract

The performance of 43 Hispanic engineering and science majors on a task that consists of reading a sentence describing a mathematical relationship between two variables, and then writing an equation describing the relationship, is investigated in both English and Spanish. Results are compared with grade point average and with language proficiency. Comparison of the bilingual group to a monolingual group consisting of 52 engineering and science students shows that performance, as measured by either the mathematical translation task or grade point average, is more strongly correlated with language proficiency for the bilingual group. Clinical interviews conducted with samples from each group reveal large differences in the interpretation of the mathematical task between Hispanics and monolinguals. Suggestions are made for the improvement of the technical education of Hispanics.