Language proficiency, creativity, and locus-of-control among Hispanic bilingual gifted children

Mario Francisco Martorell, Fordham University


This study investigated the effects of bilingualism on academic achievement, creativity, and locus of control among gifted and non-gifted Hispanic students. Subjects were 178 Hispanic bilingual first and second graders (88 gifted; 90 non-gifted) attending a New York City school district. Giftedness identification emphasized the students' language proficiency, divergent thinking, and task commitment abilities rather than academic performance. Language proficiency, defined as degree of bilingualism (English superior, Spanish superior, and balanced bilingual), was determined by the subjects' performance on the Language Assessment Battery in English and in Spanish. The Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills, the Spanish Assessment of Basic Education, the Intellectual Achievement Response Questionnaire, and the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking were used to measure academic achievement, locus of control orientation, and creativity, respectively. Significant variations were apparent when a series of 2 $\times$ 3 analyses of variance and Scheffe comparisons was conducted to determine the main effects and interactions on the dependent variables (math and reading, locus of control orientation, and creativity) by the independent variables which were (a) designation as gifted and non-gifted, and (b) degree of bilingualism (English dominant, Spanish dominant, or balanced bilingual). Supplementary analyses of path coefficients on causal models were computed to examine the differences observed in creativity among gifted and non-gifted groups. Two practical implications emerged from the findings of this study. First, the finding that bilingualism has a positive effect upon academic achievement in non-gifted children underscores the need to implement programs that foster full development of skills in both languages among our bilingual students. Second, the finding that internal locus of control orientation and level of creativity were distinguishing factors in identifying giftedness in this study lends support for the inclusion of these measures in any evaluation protocol used to identify giftedness among Hispanic bilingual students.

Subject Area

Educational psychology|Educational evaluation|Elementary education|Special education

Recommended Citation

Martorell, Mario Francisco, "Language proficiency, creativity, and locus-of-control among Hispanic bilingual gifted children" (1991). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9136330.