|Investigating Bilingual Literacy: Evidence from Malawi and Zambia - Education research paper No. 24 (DFID, 1998, 99 p.)|
|5 The 1994 research|
The methods employed to collect data were as follows:
(i) a 30 item reading test in English
(ii) a 30 item reading test in the local language (namely Chichewa in Malawi, and ChiNyanja in Zambia)
(iii) a structured interview on pupil background and reading habits carried out either in English or the local language with a local researcher
(iv) a passage in English to be read and discussed either in English or the local language with a local researcher
(v) a passage in the local language to be read and discussed with a local researcher
The 1994 Reading Tests: The group reading tests were again, as in the 1992 research, modified cloze tests with a total of 30 items each. The language for the English test was taken from the English language course books English in Malawi and New Zambia Primary Course, English Language at or below fourth year level (i.e. a year below that of the testees). The test consists of four different passages, with a fairly steep grading of difficulty. In terms of socio-cultural appropriacy the passages contain topics and episodes with which the pupils were, according to teachers, familiar, and which closely resemble those in their course books (for sample extracts, see Appendix F).
The texts for both local language tests were modified versions of Zambian school textbooks (Werenga Cinyanja). The Malawian version of the texts was appropriately modified in terms of spelling, lexis and morphology by a Chichewa expert from the Malawi Institute of Education. This results in very small differences between the versions (see Appendix G for an extract). The same gaps were inserted in both, and the texts may on the basis of close similarity be regarded as of equivalent difficulty. The number of items was set at 30 (rather than 60 as in 1992) since this test was aimed exclusively at year 5 pupils and in principle did not have to allow for such a range of ability as the 1992 test.