Factors affecting second language achievement in primary school
This study investigates achievement in second language learning (Chinese) in primary school in relation to learner variables such as amount and duration of instruction and home language background.1 Currently in the State of Victoria it is recommended that all students learn a second language from the beginning of primary school to the end of Year 10. As the majority of students in some LOTE (Languages Other Than English) classes such as Chinese are background speakers, some parents and teachers are concerned that non-background learners can be disadvantaged compared with classmates who have some exposure to the LOTE outside school. In order to examine whether home language use has any impact on achievement, we developed a test of four skills and administered it to Year 6 students in two primary schools in Melbourne. The results showed that Chinese background students scored much higher than non-Chinese background students in all four areas. However a close examination of the data revealed that other variables such as Chinese study outside school and the number of years of study at school also influenced the test scores. This research has strong implications for developing a LOTE curriculum for both background and non-background speakers.
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