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The College of Education and Human Development invites students to submit scholarly summaries of UTSA faculty work for publication on the COEHD website. This is your opportunity to publish your writing and become familiar with your professor's scholarly contributions. You can practice your writing skills, put your professor's work in the public eye, and potentially recruit future students. Below are the most recent participants.

Mingxia Zhi, Ph.D. Candidate

Research on second language (L2) learners' speech production generally utilizes human judgments to determine speech production outcomes. However, little attention has been paid to the reliability and validity of the measure (i.e., human ratings). To fill in this research gap, Huang and Jun (2014) focuses on the rater differences in the assessment of foreign accents. The authors used a quasi-experimental design to examine the perceptions of raters from different linguistic backgrounds and with varying degrees of teaching experience. The three groups of raters included in the study were inexperienced native English speaker (NES) raters, experienced NES raters, and advanced nonnative English speaker (NNES) raters. All raters evaluated 64 speeches produced by both NESs and NNES who arrived in the US at different ages, and who thus varied in their English language proficiency. 

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Michelle Flahive, MA-TESL

This review provides an analysis of Dr. Dennis Davis's study, which examined the social practices and commitments related to test-centered literacy curricula. Davis's research is unique in that it was able to capture the true nature of the impact of standardized testing on public schools by observing the period of transition from TAKS to STAAR. It was centered on data collected from interviews with South Texas educators, and resulted in three primary themes. Examination of these themes revealed: a.) that there was little distance between classroom learning and test items, b.) that external assessment led to a perceived need to break down literacy components, and c.) that a data-driven economy justified and maintained test-centered practices.

While the study methods only provide the perspectives of the teachers, the authors provided a critical and carefully constructed framework that would benefit further research. Also, this research offers insight into how assessment policy effects educators' decisions within their classroom, school district and professional communities. Additional findings, such as the ability of standardized assessments to mask students' literacy struggle and abilities, and that students placed value on themselves based on their test-aligned reading levels, implicates complementary research into the impact of test-centered practices on learners' environments.

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Daphne E. Villarreal, Ph.D. Candidate

This article explains the benefits of testimonio, or the creation of stories based on lived experience, identities, and explains the value of testimonio as a tool in epistemological research, particularly when working with a marginalized group, while focusing on pedagogy using a Chicana feminist lens. "Nepantla in our classrooms signal uncertain terrain, crossings, moving between identities, and confronting and contesting power precisely the agency of our everyday lives. Pedagogies within/from Nepantla reveal fruitful tensions for exploring how we might experience transformative teaching and learning."

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Shikun Li, Ph.D. Candidate

In order to avoid overlooking with-in group variability among bilinguals/English language learner, this research used a multidimensional bilingual assessment approach to examine bilingual students' competencies. Holding cognitive performance constant, the researchers compared students' test results across languages. All the assessments were selected based on the psychometric properties of assessments. Fifty bilingual students who came from the urban district of the Southwestern U.S participated in this study. They were all given special education referrals. The battery of assessments included nonverbal and verbal cognitive measures, as well as receptive and expressive linguistic measures. The results revealed the complexities of bilingual language development, and of the relationship between bilingual students' language proficiency and performances of academic tasks.

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Mariana Zaragoza, Ph.D. Candidate

This case study examines perspectives on re-evaluating standardized testing for Texas teachers.  Testimonies by former students show how issues of high-stakes testing hinders bilingual teacher candidates, who are numbered in the field. For those who pass, it is a harsh reminder that failing to overcome testing barriers could have impacted their teaching profession. As the main focus of the study, Texas currently mandates changes to teacher certification programs, revamps and aligns teacher standards, and designs new teacher exit exams. Exit exams or standardized tests are considered by Texas to be the determining factor of success.

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COEHD Research

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Challenging the Specter of Semilingualism in Bilingual Education Policy and Practice

Thursday, June 20, 2019

TIME: 5:00 - 6:00 p.m.

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Ethnography and the Ethnographer: Balancing the Subjective and the Objective

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