School of Education


Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction (EdD)


Michelle Barthlow


Reading Comprehension, Spanish, Lexile, Middle School




This quantitative, causal-comparative study investigated the effect of foreign language education on reading comprehension by students’ biological sex. The theoretical framework for this study is Piaget and Barlett’s Schema Theory. Participants in this study consisted of middle school students within a PK-8 school. A convenience sample of 200 students was selected, 100 males and 100 females. All students were given a pretest and posttest using the Scholastic Reading Inventory (SRI). Independent variables consisted of enrollment in a Spanish course and biological sex while the dependent variable was reading comprehension skills as determined by assessment results on the SRI. An analysis of covariance, ANCOVA, was used in analyzing the data collected in this study. When controlling for pretest scores, there was a significant difference in Lexile scores of students who took a Spanish course and those who did not, a significant difference in the Lexile scores of female students who took Spanish and those who did not, and a significant difference in the Lexile scores of male students who took Spanish and those who did not. However, there was not a significant difference in the Lexile scores based on biological sex of students taking Spanish after controlling for the pretest Lexile scores. For future studies, the following are recommended: using data from schools in different settings, such as in an urban environment, analyzing data from students of different grade levels, such as elementary or high school students, analyzing data from students who completed a foreign language course other than Spanish, and comparing results from students who completed different foreign language courses.

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