Monday, June 21, 2010

Research bytes 6-20-2010: Cognitive correlates of bilingualism; morphological instruction and literacy

Adesope, O. O., Lavin, T., Thompson, T., & Ungerleider, C. (2010). A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Cognitive Correlates of BilingualismReview of Educational Research, 80(20), 207-245.

A number of studies have documented the cognitive outcomes associated  with bilingualism. To gain a clear understanding of the extent  and diversity of these cognitive outcomes, the authors conducted  a meta-analysis of studies that examined the cognitive correlates  of bilingualism. Data from 63 studies (involving 6,022 participants) were extracted and analyzed following established protocols and procedures for conducting systematic reviews and guidelines for meta-analysis. Results indicate that bilingualism is reliably associated with several cognitive outcomes, including increased attentional control, working memory, metalinguistic awareness, and abstract and symbolic representation skills. Overall mean effect sizes varied from small to large, depending on the cognitive outcomes measured, and were moderated by methodological features of the studies.

Bowers, P. N., Kirby, J. R., & Deacon, S. H. (2010). The Effects of Morphological Instruction on Literacy Skills: A Systematic Review of the Literature. Review of Educational Research, 80(2), 144-179.

The authors reviewed all peer-reviewed studies with participants from preschool to Grade 8 for this meta-analysis of morphological interventions. They identified 22 applicable studies. Instructional effects (Cohen’s d) were averaged by linguistic outcome categories (morphological sublexical, nonmorphological sublexical, lexical, and supralexical) and comparison group (experimental group vs. control or experimental group vs. alternative training). The authors investigated the effects of morphological instruction (a) on reading, spelling, vocabulary, and morphological skills, (b) for less able readers versus undifferentiated samples, (c) for younger versus older students, and (d) in combination with instruction of other literacy skills or in isolation. Results indicate that (a) morphological instruction benefits learners, (b) it brings particular benefits for less able readers, (c) it is no less effective for younger students, and (d) it is more effective when combined with other aspects of literacy instruction. Implications of these findings are discussed in light of current educational practice and theory.

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