Reading Test Performance of English-Language Learners Using an English Dictionary

Deb Albus, Martha L Thurlow, Kristin K Liu, John Bielinski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The authors examined the effects of a simplified English dictionary accommodation on the reading-test performance of Hmong English-language learners (ELLs). Participants included a control group of 69 non-ELL students and an experimental group of 133 Hmong ELLs from 3 urban middle schools in Minnesota. In a randomized counterbalanced design, all students interpreted 2 reading passages, with and without an English dictionary, varying passage order and order of accommodation. Using a repeated measures analysis of variance, the authors found no significant difference in comprehension scores for students in either group under the accommodated condition. However, intermediate-level English proficiency students in the Hmong ELL group who used the dictionary in the accommodated condition performed better than did the control group at a level that was moderately significant. Other dictionary-related issues are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-256
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Educational Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2005

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported in part by the Delaware Department of Education (DOE-00-1). We thank Nancy Maihoff for her support of the work done at the National Center on Educational Outcomes. We also extend our appreciation to the Minnesota school districts that participated in this study.


  • Accommodation
  • Dictionary
  • English-language learners
  • Limited English-language proficiency
  • Testing


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