Issues in Measuring Opportunity to Learn Academic Language: Social Desirability and Teacher Education Effects

Zenaida Aguirre-Munoz, Christy Kim Boscardin, Rong Chang


Many assert the importance of academic language (AL) instruction in raising achievement for English learners (EL). The increased academic communication demands of the Common Core State Standards has resulted in greater attention to learning opportunities provided to students in meeting disciplinary learning. Yet, few studies have tested operationalizations of AL to investigate opportunity to learn (OTL) for English language learners. This paper discusses the issues in the measurement of AL instruction using survey instruments in bilingual contexts. Although results suggest our initial attempt to develop a survey scale show items are reliable and exhibits some degree of content validity, latent class analysis revealed that teachers interpreted the items differently depending on their level of education. Responses also appear to be confounded by social desirability evident in the lowest performing classrooms. Implications for the measurement of OTL academic language are discussed.

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