School Psychology Review

Ethnicity and English Proficiency: Teacher Perceptions of Academic and Interpersonal Competence in European American and Latino Students

Heather M. Edl, Martin H. Jones, David B. Estell

pp. 38-45

Special Topic: Promoting Academic Competence for Underserved Students

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Abstract. Little research investigates the academic and interpersonal competence of Latino students in classroom settings. As such, the current study seeks to better understand how language proficiency and ethnicity relate to teacher ratings of children’s academic and social capabilities. The present study compared European American students with Latino students in regular and bilingual classrooms from the fall of fourth grade to the spring of fifth grade. Using discriminant function analyses at four times, results suggest that in the fall of fourth grade several distinctions existed between students in regular and bilingual classrooms.By the spring of fifth grade, the number of differences diminished to just two variables among the groups. For each factor separating the students, teachers consistently rated Latinos in bilingual classrooms as less competent, whereas Latinos in regular classrooms were often, though not always, similar to European American students. Implications for practice are discussed.