Predictors of Academic Achievement in Multilingual Learners

This research considered factors that predict academic achievement in Grade 8 and 9 learners. The learners in this study were categorised primarily based on their first language. As a researcher in South Africa one is not faced with a division between monolinguals and bilinguals, but rather is forced to classify language users based on their ‘home’ or ‘first’ language. Thus learners whose first language was English fell into the first-language (L1) group, while learners whose first language was not English fell into the second-language (L2) group Academic achievement was defined in this study as the marks obtained by learners in their school subjects. This method of assessing students and learners is both pervasive and essential in the determination of academic potential, and the subsequent determination of future employment and educational opportunities. The results of these school achievement tests were compared with results obtained from the Differential Aptitude Test Form S (DAT-S) English Version. The DAT-S is an assessment instrument used to determine academic potential. This test was developed in South Africa, and normed against Afrikaans and English speaking students (Vosloo, Coetzee & Claassen, 2000). The test was chosen for use in this study because “the kind of information obtained from the differential aptitude tests can … facilitate judgements regarding potential success in the course of a career” (Vosloo, Coetzee & Claassen, 2000 p. 1). The results of this comparison were used to examine factors that determine success in an academic sphere, and which underlying proficiencies as predicted by the DAT-S may have contributed to this success.
Student Number : 9711192Y - MA Research Report - School of Human and Community Development - Faculty of Humanities
bilingualism, multilingualism, academic achievement