Evaluating the Equality of Regression Coefficients for Multiple Group Comparisons: A Case of English Learner Subgroups by Home Languages




As the theme of the 2022 annual meeting of the American Education Research Association, cultivating equitable education systems has gained renewed attention amid an increasingly diverse society. However, systemic inequalities persist for traditionally underserved student populations. As a way to better address diverse students’ needs, it is of critical importance to understand different subgroups’ performances. In the educational measurement field, evaluating the differences among multiple groups is an important consideration in addressing fairness issues for diverse groups of students. This article offers one technique to do so. It demonstrates how commonly-used multiple regression analysis can be applied to evaluate the equivalence of predictive structure across multiple groups in place of the factor analytic approach that requires a relatively large sample size per subgroup and strong assumptions. The technique is utilized in examining the relationship between English language proficiency and academic performance of English learners in one state when the subgroups are categorized by home language. The results showed statistically significant group differences between the reference group (Spanish-speaking ELs) and other focal groups (different home-language ELs) in various levels of comparisons (model fit, model structure, and individual predictor weights). The strengths and limitations of a proposed multiple group regression (MGR) approach are discussed in the educational research context.