Bilingual instruction in college mathematics: Effects on performance of Hispanic students on CLAST mathematics competencies examinations

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Higher Education

First Committee Member

Gilbert J. Cuevas, Committee Chair


The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of mathematics instruction in two languages (English/Spanish) on the performance of Hispanic bilingual college students on mathematics tests of CLAST competencies and on a mathematics final examination similar to the CLAST mathematics subtest.The major research question was: To what extent is language of instruction related to Hispanic bilingual college students' course achievement in mathematics? The research hypotheses were stated directionally in favor of bilingual instruction. A one-tailed t test at.05 level of confidence was used to test the hypotheses.The sample consisted of Hispanic bilingual students enrolled in five sections of MGF 1113, at the South Campus of Miami Dade Community College, during the Winter term of the 1990-91 academic year. Two bilingual sections, with 32 students, all Hispanics, made up the experimental group. Three regular sections, with 118 students, of which 62 were Hispanics, made up the control group. All sections met twice a week, one hour and fifteen minutes each class, for sixteen weeks. The experimental group participated in bilingual instruction (English/Spanish) and the control group in traditional instruction (English only).Both groups received the same mathematical instruction, with the same book. The same concepts, skills and algorithms were taught to both groups each class meeting. The same tests were administered to both groups on the same dates. The difference was language of instruction. Students in the bilingual group took the bilingual version of the four partial tests, which had the same questions but written in English and Spanish. The final examination was in English only for both groups.The study found that Hispanic bilingual college students who participated in bilingual instruction achieved significantly higher scores in the mathematics areas of logic, probability/statistics and geometry, but not in algebra. Scores on a final examination similar to the CLAST mathematics subtest were significantly higher for Hispanic students in the bilingual experimental group.It was concluded that bilingual instruction (English/Spanish) was more effective than traditional instruction (English only) in promoting overall higher academic achievement for Hispanics, on CLAST mathematics competencies examinations.


Education, Community College; Education, Mathematics

Link to Full Text