This project investigates how vignette illustrations minimize the impact of limited English proficiency on student performance in science tests. Different analyses will determine whether and how ELL and non-ELL students differ significantly on the ways they use vignettes to make sense of items; whether the use of vignettes reduces test-score differences due to language factors between ELL and non-ELL students; and whether the level of distance of the items moderates the effectiveness of vignette-illustrated items.
Graduate Research Assistant
About Me (Bio):
Chao is currently a fourth-year doctoral student in the Educational Equity Cultural Diversity program in the University of Colorado at Boulder. Prior to coming to the United States, she taught English as a foreign language to students at different levels, ranging from elementary school children to college students and adults. Her research interests have always been children and teachers, and the role of language and culture in learning, teaching, and testing. She has worked for two years as a research assistant to Dr. Solano-Flores on a NSF-funded project. It examines the advantages and limitations of vignette illustrations as a form of testing accommodation for English language learners in science assessment. Her dissertation is derived from this project, and compares state, national, and international assessment programs as to the characteristics and functions of the illustrations used in their science test items. After graduating, Chao plans to become an educational researcher and a science teacher educator. She expects to be able to make learning an enjoyable and empowering experience, and to support children and teachers to become critical thinkers, effective problem solvers, and happy individuals. Chao is particularly interested in utilizing knowledge from the cognitive sciences to improve STEM instructional and assessment practices.