Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Angela B. Anthony


The purpose of this study is to examine the trends and differences in receptive and expressive English language development in native English speakers and Spanish-speaking English language learners (ELL). It also aims to analyze the relationship between auditory comprehension and narrative production skills and semantic skills and narrative production skills in native English-speakers and Spanish-speaking ELLs. Eighty-three preschool-aged children (17 Spanish-speaking ELLs and 66 Native English-speakers) were administered the Pre-Kindergarten Language Benchmark Assessment (Pre-KLBA) in Fall 2015, Winter 2016, and Spring 2016. This study utilized a three by two ANOVA to evaluate and determine: 1) If there are differences in Pre-KLBA total scores (i.e., sum of auditory comprehension, expressive categorization, and narrative scores) for Spanish-speaking ELLs and Native English speakers across fall, winter, and spring 2) If there are differences in Pre-KLBA total scores between Spanish-speaking ELLS and the native English-speakers across the fall, winter, and spring testing times 3) If there is an interaction effect between Spanish-speaking ELLs and native English speakers and the testing time (i.e., fall, winter, and spring) on the language score. Fourteen Spanish-speaking ELL Pre-K students and 14 native English-speaking children were assigned to the Spanish-speaking ELL group and the native English-speaking group, respectively, based on their native language. A contingency analysis was utilized to determine: 1) if auditory comprehension performance correlates with narrative productions and 2) if semantic skills correlates with narrative productions in Spanish-speaking ELLs and native English speakers. This study concludes that native English-speakers and Spanish-speaking ELLs both demonstrate overall language improvement, however, there continues to be a gap in performance between the groups in which native English-speakers continue to perform higher than their same-aged Spanish-speaking ELLs. Understanding Spanish-speaking ELL and native English-speaker English development can help shape assessment procedures and guide the intervention process in order to better identify ELLs and native English-speakers that are at-risk for language difficulties.