The current study research showed the nature and potential sources of the gaps in mathematics achievement between English language learners (ELLs) and non-English language learners (non-ELLs). The nature of achievement gap was examined using three DIF methodologies: including Mantel-Haenszel procedure, Rasch model, and Hierarchical Generalized Linear Model (HGLM). These were conducted at the item level in contrast to total test level. Results revealed that the three DIF approaches identified 10 common items. These 10 items demonstrated in favor of non-ELLs. Findings from this study will help educational researchers, administrators, and policymakers understand the nature of the achievement gap in mathematics at item level so that United States can be competitive in middle school mathematics education. This study also suggested that item writers and test developers should construct assessments where language is equally accessible for ELL students.

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Published in Frontiers in Psychology, v. 12, 657335.

© 2021 Liu and Bradley

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