The effects of linguistic modification on ESL students' comprehension of nursing course test items

Susan Bosher, Melissa Bowles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Recent research has indicated that language may be a source of construct-irrelevant variance for non-native speakers of English, or English as a second language (ESL) students, when they take exams. As a result, exams may not accurately measure knowledge of nursing content. One accommodation often used to level the playing field for ESL students is linguistic modification, a process by which the reading load of test items is reduced while the content and integrity of the item are maintained. Research on the effects of linguistic modification has been conducted on examinees in the K-12 population, but is just beginning in other areas. This study describes the collaborative process by which items from a pathophysiology exam were linguistically modified and subsequently evaluated for comprehensibility by ESL students. Findings indicate that in a majority of cases, modification improved examinees' comprehension of test items. Implications for test item writing and future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-172
Number of pages8
JournalNursing Education Perspectives
Volume29
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2008

Keywords

  • English as a second language
  • Linguistic modification
  • Multiple-choice exams
  • NCLEX-RN
  • Reliability
  • Validity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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