Rudolfo Chávez Chávez

California State College, Bakersfield

Manuel Cárdenas

New Mexico State University












Ethnoperspectives in Bilingual Education Research

Volume II



            Within a bilingual bicultural classroom climate, authentic affective and cognitive experiences for bilingual bicultural students are essential. The classroom climate, acting with other forces, offers the students psychological experiences, limitations, and self-impact. Secondly, the classroom climate has physical, social, and intellectual forces and conditions that impinge upon a student (Bloom 1964). Finally, “the social relations among the students as a group, and between the students and the teacher, significantly influence the cognitive and affective learning outcomes” (Kahn & Weiss 1973:760).

            This paper will deal specifically with students (Chicano and non- Chicano) within bilingual bicultural and nonbilingual classrooms in the State of New Mexico. In addition, this study will focus on the affective dimension of Chicano and non-Chicano students within bilingual bicultural classrooms, and for comparisons, within nonbilingual classrooms. This will provide data about those students’ perceptions of those classrooms. The data will be used to determine whether the affective dimension enhances the educational advancement of Chicano and non- Chicano students within bilingual bicultural as well as nonbilingual classrooms.


Related Research

            On the whole, research regarding the educational experiences of students within bilingual bicultural classrooms has been devoid of an ex tended research effort (Wienberg 1977). Troike (1978, 1979) contends that the lack of a research effort is due to the Office of Bilingual Education’s exclusion of a research budget until the 1976 fiscal year. This was true, even though Congress had appropriated money for such expenditure in

1974. Nevertheless, research studies focusing on the educational advancement of bilingual bicultural students are somewhat widespread in the research literature.

            A macro-view, of the Chicano student’s educational experience was published by the U. S. Commission on Civil Rights (1971-1974). The commission’s study illustrated a multi-faceted view of Chicano students in Southwestern schools and their subsequent failure within those schools. In contrast, several evaluations of bilingual bicultural education pro grams have demonstrated that the academic performance of students within those programs has not been deterred by dual language instruction and the use of two cultures for the transference of curricular content (Lambert, Giles, & Picard 1975; Rosier & Farella 1976; Leyba 1978; Plante 1977; Saldate & Mishra 1978).

            The above mentioned studies have determined the impact of bilingual bicultural classrooms on students, by the students’ performance on various academic measurements. That is, the studies have focused on the cognitive impact of bilingual bicultural education on students. Moreover, bilingual bicultural education rests upon a philosophical premise that includes a student finding acceptance of his/her language and culture for the educational process to be experienced fully (Angel 1974; Gonzales 1974; Ramierz & Castaneda 1977; Valencia 1977). That is the affective impact of bilingual bicultural education on students.


Though incomplete, some research has looked critically at the affective dimension. Juarez’ (1976) experiment indicated that students preferred bilingual environments as opposed to monolingual environments in science instruction. Del Bueno (1971) found that seventh grade students in bilingual bicultural programs had a significantly positive self-concept. Rivera (1973) and Skoczylas (1972) indicated in their findings that a bilingual bicultural atmosphere enhanced the evolution of more positive feelings of self-image.

            An extensive study of Chicano students’ perceptions of their high school and their college performance was conducted by Espinoza, Fernandez, and Dornbusch (1977/1979).’ Differences and similarities in the performance of Spanish-surname students and other ethnic groups was compared. The researchers found that “Chicano students cared about school, saw a close link between schooling and future occupations, believed that their parents considered education important, perceived their teachers as friendly and warm, were not alienated from school, and did not have a low academic self-concept” (152-53).

            The research studies mentioned above employed low inference measures. Low inference measures focus on specific, denotable, relatively objective behaviors of students and are recorded as frequency counts and/or narrative explanations (Rosenshine & Furst 1971). Low inference measures, however, have been criticized because they account for only small amounts of variance of student achievement (Rosenshine & Furst 1971). Also they are “less valid in predicting learning outcomes than are high inference measures” (Anderson & Walberg 1974:86). Therefore, the present inVe8tigators used a high inference measure to gather the needed data.

            High inference responses or variables ask the respondent to make

judgment about the meaning of what he/she thinks or feels about the classroom climate (Nielson & Kirk 1974). High inference measures are subjective ratings of perceived behavior by students. Although the mea sures are subjective, they have proven comparatively valid (Anderson Walberg 1974). In high inference measures, the student is the recipient instruction and other cues in the classroom, in particular social stimuli, and may be the best judge of the learning context (Anderson & Walberg 1974). In low inference measures, the observer weighs his judgments about the classroom on one or a few short-term observations. Figuratively, in using high-inference variables to measure classroom climate, the “judgea are a group of twenty to thirty sensitive well-informed judges the class; an outside observer is a single judge who has far less data and, though highly trained and systematic, may be insensitive to what

important in a particular class” (Anderson & Walberg 1974:86).


Theoretical and Applied Research Related to the Use of High Inference Measures


            Lewin (1936) contends that because a group of people may behave in

Similar way, the similarity of possible behavior does not imply similarity of the individuals, because it requires different situations to bring out approximately similar behavior. “Inference of an individual characteristic (P) is possible only when the environmental situations (E) agree, inference of the situation only when the individuals agree” (Lewin1935:72).

            Focusing on the child, an analysis of environmental factors must begin from a consideration of the total situation (Lewin 1936). At birth, the child’s life-space is limited. Gradually, the child’s life-space extends. The child by increasing degrees controls his environment; social facts (e.g., child-to-parent or child-to-child communication) become an essential part of the life-space. As the child physically grows and matures mentally, the child’s social facts acquire more significance for the child’s psychological environment.

            To understand the child’s psychological behavior (B), Lewin contends that “one has to determine for every kind of psychological event (actions, emotions, expressions, etc.) the momentary structure and the state of the person (P) and of the psychological environment (E). B = f(P,E).” In this equation, behavior (B) equals the frequency of the momentary structure and the state of the person (P) and psychological environment (E). In summary, Lewin contends that environment is to be defined not only physically, but psychobiologically as well; that is, according to a quasi- physical and quasi-mental structure.

            Murray, a humanist psychologist, referring to himself as a personalogist, attempted to maintain the focus of the discipline on the lives of people by keeping in mind Lewin’s dictum: B = f (P,E). Nevertheless, Murray was also interested in the internal determinants of behavior. Murray concluded that Lewin, McDougall, Ach, and others were interested only in the external determinants of behavior, never systematically developing a theory of drive or need. Murray’s need-press model corrected that omission.

            In the Murray model, a distinction is made between needs (the P component) and press (the E component). Murray defined need as “... a force (the physico-chemical nature of which is unknown) in the brain region, a force which organizes perception, apperception, intellection, conation, and action in such a way as to transform in a certain direction an existing, unsatisfying situation” (1938:124). He defined press as “… a temporal gestalt of stimuli which usually appears in the guise of a threat of harm or promise of benefit to the organism.”

            Stern (1970) refined Murrays thought by simplifying those definitions. To Stern, needs refers to organizational tendencies that appear to give unity and direction to a person’s behavior. Press refers to the phenomenological world of the individual, the unique and inevitable private view each person has of the events in which the individual takes part (Stern 1970).

            Murray’s unique concept of environmental press facilitated the construction of low and high inference measures to objectively determine environmental press in college environments (Pace & Stern 1958) and several types of classrooms (Steele House, & Kerins 1971; Trickett & Moss 1973).

            Getzels’ and Thelen’s (1960) socio-psychological theory is specifically tailored to groups within the classroom. “… [T]he nature of the learning process is affected by the nature of the social interaction, the compulsory and random selection of pupils will have an effect on what is learned, and the compulsory and random nature of the classroom group can be considered another distinctive feature of the classroom an working group’

            The main elements of the Getzels-Thelen conception of the classroom group can be summarized analytically as follows:




































            The upper line is the sociological dimension of action. Roles are defined in terms of established institutional expectations, obligations, prerogatives, and powers. The lower line pertains to the unique, personal behavior dispositions. The middle line mediates between the institutional and the individual dispositions. On the one hand, it can support the institution by imposing, if necessary, certain normative role-expectations on the group members; on the other hand, it can support the individual in expressing certain idiosyncratic personality-dispositions. In working out this balance between the institution and the individual the group develops a culture or, perhaps better here, a climate that may be analyzed into the constituent intentions of the group, and, in effect, the group climate represents another general dimension of the classroom as a social system (Getzels & Thelen 1960). The following studies, plus this present study, employed high inference measures based on Getzels’ and Thelen’s (1960) theoretical model.

            Herbert Walberg, participating in the evaluation of the Harvard Physics Project, demonstrated that classroom climate could be reliably and economically measured with the use of high inference measures. He found that climate variables were good predictors of student learning outcomes: Classrooms following different curricular materials exhibited change in their classroom climates (Anderson & Walberg 1974). The instrument developed and refined through the years was the Learning Environment Inventory (LEI) for the secondary level and My Class Inventory (MCI) for the elementary level (Anderson & Walberg 1971).

            Walberg and Anderson (1968) investigated whether students’ individual satisfaction with the climate of the class would enhance learning. Their hypothesis, that student achievement and interest in the subject could predict structural and affective aspects of classroom climate, was confirmed. The climate measures of the personal relations between class members did predict learning. The variables that accounted for twelve correlations with the criteria (Hennon-Nelson I.Q., Physics Achievement Test, Science Process Inventory, Semantic Differential for Science Students, and Pupil Activity Inventory) were personal intimacy, friction, and satisfaction. Thus, it is not the identification with the group that correlates with learning but the perception that the class is personally gratifying and without hostilities among the members” (Walberg & Anderson 1968:418).

            The following year Anderson, Walberg, and Welch (1969) explored potential determinants of the social climate itself in an effort to gain insight into the manner in which classroom climates evolved. The same year Walberg’s (1969a) study on social environment found high rates of affective growth occurring in satisfying and socially cohesive classes. Although cognitive and affective criteria were independent from each other, . the social environments as perceived by students predicted learning criteria . . .“ (p. 448). Replication of the work on the effects of classroom climate on learning, affirmed that student perceptions of classroom learning environmental measures were valid predictors of learning (Walberg 1969b).

            Once research established that students’ perceptions could be reliably measured, explorations in the areas of the classroom began. Anderson (1971) studied the effects of course content and teacher sex on the social climate of learning. Differences in four classroom (science, mathematics, French, and humanities) climates were found. The data illustrated that French and humanities classes were “easier going” compared to the “hard” sciences. No relationship was found between teacher’s sex and pupil’s perceptions of the learning climate within the classes.

            The majority of the studies done had been administered to urban or suburban students. An examination of learning environments and the intellectual variables of classes in grades eight and eleven from rural and urban settings (Randhawa & Michayluk 1975) was undertaken. Mathematics, science, social studies, and English courses were represented in the grades mentioned. This study investigated the effects of only a few of the many possible variables that determine the learning environment. Interactions between environmental and intellectual variables of the different courses and between rural and urban classes were found.

            Learning environment scales have been tested for cross-cultural generalizability of measures of students’ perception to social environment of learning (Walberg, Sigh, & Rasher 1977). An experiment was conducted in the State of Rajastham, India. The mean end-of-course achievement scores of 166 groups of studious and non-studious members of 83 general science classes and 134 similar groups of 67 social studies classes randomly sampled were correlated with I.Q. and the Learning Environment Inventory translated into Hindi. The experiment indicated that correlations do not necessarily mean causality, but that “. . . the measures of the social environment mediate and index much of the sociopsychological stimulation that bears, indirectly through perception, upon cognitive and attitudinal learning” (Walberg, et al. 1977:48).

            In keeping with testing the high inference measures in unique settings, Fraser (1978) modified the LEI for use in individualized junior high school classrooms. The modified measure formed a battery of nine classroom climate scales suitable for the types of classrooms and grade level (seventh grade). The refined learning environment scale was internally consistent, with discriminant validity and sensitivity.

            In summary, during the past decade, research has illustrated that student perceptions of the social environment of their classes account for substantial differences. Differences in cognitive and affective criteria beyond that accounted for by corresponding beginning-of-course measures or mental abilities or both have been shown. The classroom environment, as evidenced by the literature reviewed, is a totality of forces affecting the individual students cognitively as well as affectively. It was shown that high inference measures were valid in measuring climate that correlated with learning across various grade levels, course content, and rural and urban areas. Moreover, it was shown that the high inference measures had cross-cultural generalizability and could be modified.



            The population studied included those students of sixth grade classrooms in schools having both Spanish/English bilingual bicultural education programs and non-bilingual education programs. The schools that participated in the study are located in northern and southern New Mexico. The bilingual bicultural education programs of the schools where data were collected met the criteria specified by the federal Title VII guidelines or New Mexico State Department of Education guidelines, or both.

            Data collected from students were age, sex, ethnicity (Chicano or non-Chicano), type of classroom (bilingual or nonbilingual), third and fifth grade California Test of Basic Skills (CTBS) achievement scores in language arts, reading, and the battery total. Data from the Climate Inventory Instrument were obtained from the students during the second and third weeks of October, 1979, on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings. The climate scores were obtained during this short time span for two reasons:


1. Since the climate scores are a perception of the classroom climate, it was believed that students needed to be in their assigned classrooms at least six weeks in order for them to answer the statements in the inventory honestly and with reflection; and

2. It was assumed that students would be more settled and relaxed on the three aforementioned school days.

            In addition, data were used only from those students who were registered from the first grade through the sixth grade in a Spanish/English bilingual bicultural education program or a nonbilingual education pro gram within the same school. Because of the above stringent controls, only four elementary schools from two school districts were included. Within these schools, 157 students met the criteria for inclusion in the study. Therefore, the entire population was included, making sampling unnecessary.


The Climate Inventory Instrument

            The instrument used to obtain the climate scores for the study was a modified version of Anderson’s (1973) My Classroom Inventory. The instrument contained instructions that required a minimum of assistance from the administrator in answering statements in the subsequent pages. The instructions provided two examples for practice with a Likert-type scale.

Anderson’s My Class Inventory contained five climate scales (satisfaction, friction, competitiveness, difficulty, and cohesiveness) with each climate scale containing nine statements. The modified instrument used for this study employed all the climate scales except that of difficulty. In addition, because of time constraints, the modified instrument included fewer scales. This made it possible for students to answer each statement with appropriate reflection. Each climate scale was shortened from nine to five statements. The five statements used for each climate scale best encompassed the definitions of the scales. Many statements were re worded for clarity as a consequence of suggestions made by students in the pilot study population.

            The twenty statements are arranged in the instrument so as to prevent consecutive repetition of the same climate scale. A Likert scale was used permitting students to decide from a five point range, the validity of the statement as it pertained to their classrooms.

            After the instrument was distributed to an entire sixth grade classroom by the researcher, the researcher read the directions aloud having the students follow silently. A large chart was utilized for discussion depicting the Likert scale found in the Climate Inventory Instrument. Finally, an opportunity was given to the students to ask questions concerning the procedures, after which the twenty statements were answered by each student.

            This study incorporates the use of students’ high inference responses of his/her classroom climate and the students’ personal data to determine if general positive trends of achievement were indeed occurring. Put an other way, we asked the students to look at large segments of the whole within the classrooms vis-à-vis the four climate scales of the Climate Inventory Instrument. Then, we took those segments and pasted them together to form a puzzle. This puzzle then became a pictorial representation of the classrooms’ effective dimension as perceived by the students. We then took this picture (which is the affective classroom climate) and compared, contrasted, and correlated those perceptions with the students’ other personal data (variables), namely third and fifth grade language arts, reading, and battery achievement totals, sex, ethnicity, and type of classroom (bilingual bicultural and nonbilingual).


Method of Analysis


            The method of analysis was twofold. First, descriptive statistics were utilized in making comparisons between classrooms, between ethnic categories and between the sexes. Then step-wise regression (Nie, et al. 1970:355) was used to determine which of the variables measured, if any, had an influence on the difference between fifth and third grade achievement scores. Because the interest of this study lies not on the particular individuals who happen to be present in the classrooms at the time of the administration of the inventory instrument, but rather on a conceptual population of individuals that could possibly be present, the super population approach assumes that “with each population unit is associated a random variable for which a stochastic structure is specified; the actual value associated with a population unit is treated as the outcome of the random variable” (Cassel, et al. 1977:2). Basically, in the super population approach the actual population is considered as a sample from a much larger conceptual population that is of interest.


Findings and Discussion

            Due to the small number of non-Chicano students in both the bilingual and nonbilingual classrooms, no inferential analysis was attempted in the aforementioned comparisons between classrooms, ethnic categories and sexes. Instead, a descriptive analysis is presented. The number of students as well as the means and standard deviations of the climate variables grouped by classroom, ethnicity and sex are exhibited in Table 1. Apparently there is no appreciable effect of classroom, ethnicity or sex on the climate variables. The over-all means for satisfaction, competition, friction and cohesiveness are 18.37, 15.46, 14.92 and 18.71 respectively. These results indicate that the population surveyed perceives itself as being, on the average, somewhat satisfied and cohesive, however, it is noncommital in its response to competition and friction.


































(N = 32)*









(N = 42)










(N= 28)









(N= 37)





Non- Chicano







(N= 2)









(N= 4)









18.20 (N=5)















 1. Satisfaction,    2. Competition   3. Friction   4.Cohesiveness            

* Number of students.





Table 2 shows the means and standard deviations of the differences in fifth and third grade achievement scores grouped by classroom and ethnicity. Sex was not taken into account because of the small number of non-Chicano students. The classroom has little, if any, effect on Chicanos’ achievement scores. The non-Chicano students in the bilingual classroom are performing as well as Chicano students in language arts and battery total; however, they are achieving considerably better in reading where Chicano students seem to be lagging. A puzzling result is that the non- Chicano students in the nonbilingual classroom are performing miserably in comparison with the other groups.


























(N = 60)*







(N = 78)




Non- Chicano
















1 Language Arts; 2 Reading 3 Total Battery

*Number of students.



            A correlation analysis was then undertaken to determine any linear relationships between the climate and achievement variables measured. The results are presented in Table 3. Three correlation coefficients were significant at the five percent level. However, since forty-eight correlation coefficients were tested, this result is consistent with a five percent type I error rate under a null hypothesis of no linear correlation. Therefore, it is concluded that no linear relationships exist between climate and achievement variables.





(a) Chicano in Bilingual Classroom (N = 60)*






































(b) Chicano in Nonbilingual Classroom (N =79)



































(c) Non-Chicano in Bilingual Classroom (N =7)



































(d) Non-Chicano in Nonbilingual Classroom (N = 9)



















-0.3 1478







-0.43 774


-0. 15504







1. Product Moments Correlation; 2. Significance  Level

* Number of students.



Though classroom climate variables were not significant, they were significant as interacting variables within the following step-wise regression statistical procedures. This tends to reflect the inclusiveness of the classroom and its climate, illustrating that the classroom is a dynamic interchange of affective and cognitive forces forged with personalized and socio-psychological phenomena.

Three step-wise regression analyses were accomplished, one analysis using each of fifth grade language arts, reading and battery total achievement scores as the dependent variable. The candidates for independent variables were sex, ethnicity, classroom and all first order interactions thereof.

            The resulting equation using fifth grade language arts achievement scores was:

y1= 4 .988+0.054x1 x2 + 0.072x3 x4 -0.060x5 x6



y1 = Fifth grade language arts achievement score

x1 =satisfaction response

x2= sex (1= male, 2= female)

x3= competition response

x4= ethnicity (1= Chicano, 2= non-Chicano)

x5 =friction response

x6= classroom (1=bilingual, 2=nonbilingual)

This combination of the independent variables accounts for 11.86% of the total variances in fifth grade language arts achievement score. The result of this step-wise regression analysis indicates the following:

1. If, for a given ethnic group and classroom, the level of competition and friction are held constant, fifth grade language arts achievement score increases with satisfaction and given a level of satisfaction females perform better than males.

2. If, for a given sex category and classroom, the level of satisfaction and friction are held constant, fifth grade language arts achievement score increases with competition and given a level of competition non-Chicano students outperform Chicano students.

3. If, for a given sex category and ethnic group, satisfaction and competition are held constant, fifth grade language arts achievement score increases as friction decreases and given a level of friction students in the bilingual bicultural classroom outperform those in the nonbilingual classroom.


            The above implies that language arts skills (writing, reading, listening, speaking) can be manifested in a classroom climate where Chicano as well as non-Chicano students have the opportunity to competitively interact yet form mutual interpersonal bonds that result in low friction and high satisfaction. Given a Chicano and a non-Chicano sixth grade student of the same sex perceiving the same degree of satisfaction, friction and competition, the non-Chicano will outperform the Chicano. Under similar circumstances if the Chicano perceives twice the level of competition as the non-Chicano, he will perform as well.

The resulting equation using fifth grade reading achievement scores as the dependent variable was:

y2 = 4.680+0.081x1 x4— .036x5 x6


y2 = fifth grade reading achievement score and x1, x4, x5, and x6 were previously defined.

This regression equation accounted for 12.74 percent of the total variability in fifth grade reading scores. The result of this regression indicates the following:

1. If, for a given classroom, the level of friction is held constant, fifth grade reading achievement score increases with satisfaction and for a fixed level of satisfaction non-Chicano students do better than Chicano students.

2. If, for a given ethnic group, the level of satisfaction is held constant, fifth grade reading achievement score increases as friction decreases and for a given level of friction students in the bilingual classroom outperform those in the nonbilingual classroom.


In reading achievement the results are similar. It may be concluded that efficacy in reading within bilingual bicultural classrooms could be attributed to an absence of friction as perceived by those involved in the reading process.

The resulting equation using fifth grade battery total achievement scores as the dependent variable was:

y3 = 5.505 + 0.05x1 x4 – 0.057x5 x6+ 0.280x2 x6


y3 = fifth grade battery total achievement score, and the x’s were previously defined.

The immediately preceding equation accounted for 10.94 percent of the total variability associated with fifth grade battery total. The following conclusions can be drawn from this analysis.

1. If, for a given classroom and sex category, the level of friction is held constant, fifth grade battery total increases with satisfaction and for a particular level of satisfaction non-Chicano students score higher than Chicano students.

2. If, for a given ethnic group and sex category, satisfaction is held constant, fifth grade battery total increases as friction decreases and for a given level of friction students in the bilingual classroom do better than those in the nonbilingual classroom.

3. If, for a given ethnic group, satisfaction and friction are held constant, fifth grade battery total is higher for females than males and for a given sex category pupils in the nonbilingual classroom outperform those in the bilingual classroom.

On the whole, it is quite interesting to note that the first order interaction between friction and classroom was always significant. Also, none of the climate variables were significant except as interactions. Finally, it is of interest that cohesiveness was never significant.




The data revealed that Chicano and non-Chicano students will achieve at higher levels in language arts, reading and battery total achievement when their perceptions of satisfaction and competition are high. Although this is true holistically speaking, Chicano students need to perceive twice the amount of satisfaction in order to have the same efficacy level in reading and battery achievement as non-Chicanos. Also, Chicano students need to perceive twice the amount of competition in order to have the same efficacy level in language arts achievement as non-Chicano students. Furthermore, students achieve higher, the lower the degree of friction perceived. However, students in bilingual bicultural classrooms will achieve at a higher level than students in nonbilingual classrooms whenever the level of friction perceived is the same in both classrooms.

The above illustrates the complexity of classrooms. On the one hand, data revealed the dynamic interchange of classroom forces forged with the students’ personalized and socio-psychological phenomena that predict learning. On the other hand, affective and cognitive learning within bilingual bicultural classrooms will not interfere with Chicano and non- Chicano students’ achievement. However, Chicano students in the non- bilingual classrooms will tend not to do as well as non-Chicano students in the same type of classroom. Because of the above, the affective dimension’s kaleidoscopic effect on Chicano and non-Chicano student’s achievement within bilingual bicultural and nonbilingual classrooms must be fully realized. Once taken seriously, viable curricular changes at all levels must be made in order that Chicano and non-Chicano students will benefit substantially in bilingual bicultural and nonbilingual classrooms.




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Copyright © 1980 Rudolfo Chavez Chavez and Manuel Cardenas. All rights re served.