Evaluating the structural equivalence of the English and isiXhosa versions of the Woodcock Munoz Language Survey on matched sample groups
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The diversity embodying South Africa has emphasized the importance and influence of language in education and thus the additive bilingual programme is being implemented in the Eastern Cape by the ABLE project in order to realize the South African Language in education policy (LEiP). In accordance with this, the Woodcock Munoz Language Survey (which specializes in measuring cognitive academic language proficiency) was chosen as one of the instruments to evaluate the language outcomes of the programme and was adapted into South African English and isiXhosa. The current study was a subset of the ABLE project, and was located within the bigger project dealing with the translation of the WMLS into isiXhosa and the successive research on the equivalence of the two language versions. This study evaluated the structural equivalence of the English and isiXhosa versions of the WMLS on matched sample groups (n= 150 in each language group). Thus secondary data analysis (SDA) was conducted by analyzing the data in SPSS as well as CEFA (Comprehensive Exploratory Factor Analysis). The original data set was purposively sampled according to set selection criteria and consists of English and isiXhosa first language learners. The study sought to confirm previous research by cross-validating the results of structural equivalence on two subscales, namely the Verbal Analogies (VA) and Letter-Word Identification (LWI) subscale. The research design reflects psychometric test theory and is therefore located in a bias and equivalence theoretical framework. The results of the exploratory factor analysis found that one can only accept structural equivalence in the first factor identified in the VA subscale, while structural equivalence was found in the factor for the LWI subscale. The use of scatter-plots to validate the results of the exploratory factor analysis indicated that one can tentatively accept these results. The study thus contributed to the literature on the translation of the WMLS, and the adaptation of language tests into the indigenous languages of South Africa,as well as additive bilingual programmes.
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