Relationship Between Language and Concept Science Notebook Scores of English Language Learners and/or Economically Disadvantaged Students

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Despite research interest in testing the effects of literacy-infused science interventions in different contexts, research exploring the relationship, if any, between academic language and conceptual understanding is scant. What little research exists does not include English language learners (ELLs) and/or economically disadvantaged (ED) student samples—students most at risk academically. This study quantitatively determined if there exists a relationship, and if so, how strong of a relationship, between ELL and ED students’ academic language and conceptual understanding based on science notebook scores used in a larger science and literacy-infused intervention with a sample of culturally diverse students. The study also considered strengths of relationships between language and concept science notebook scores within student language status groups (ELL, former ELL, and English speaking). Correlational analyses noted positive, large, and significant correlations between students’ language and concept scores overall, with the largest correlations for science notebook entries using more academic language. Large correlations also existed for ELL student entries at the end of the school year. Implications of the findings for future research and practice in science classrooms including literacy interventions, such as science notebooks, with populations of culturally diverse students are discussed.