Relationships between second language acquisition and home background factors for Hong Kong primary students

Year: 2006

Author: Woods, Kerry, Griffin, Patrick

Type of paper: Refereed paper

This study used item response modelling to develop measures of the development of proficiency in speaking, reading and writing English among Hong Kong primary students. Home and family background factors were identified that could be linked to higher than average levels of development in proficiency across two school years, from Primary One to Primary Two or from Primary Two to Primary Three. Participants were 2133 Hong Kong students and their parents, sampled from 140 primary schools that had employed a native-speaking teacher of English to work with the students. Higher than average improvement in English proficiency was associated with the students' attitudes to learning, their opportunities to use English in everyday life, access to books in any language at home and school, parents' level of education and parents' support of their child's English studies. The year level and gender of the student also interacted with home background factors in predicting development of second language acquisition.