Differential outcomes of two -way and transitional programs on English language learners at different entry levels

Maria Georgina Lopez, Florida International University

Abstract

This study investigated the effects of two types of bilingual education programs (two-way and transitional) on the academic performance, attitudes, and metacognitive awareness of 5th grade students who entered kindergarten or first grade with different levels of English proficiency. The multi-stage sample consisted of students who had participated in each program for a period of at least five years. A mixed model design allowed for the collection of quantitative and qualitative data that were analyzed accordingly and integrated. ^ The findings indicated no significant differences between the two groups on measures of academic achievement in English. Significant differences were found in the number of semesters required for the students to become proficient English speakers. An important conclusion, based on these findings, was that the students enrolled in the two-way bilingual education (TWBE) programs learned English faster. Moreover, they maintained a high level of proficiency in Spanish, scoring significantly higher than the transitional bilingual education group on measures of Spanish reading ability.^ Questionnaire and interview data indicated that the students in the two-way bilingual education programs tended to use more Spanish for recreational purposes and tended to rate themselves as more proficient Spanish speakers than their peers. Conversely, the students enrolled in the transitional bilingual education programs tended to rate themselves as more proficient in English than their peers. ^ The level of English language proficiency upon entering school (five years later) was found to make a difference in academic achievement, as measured by standardized tests. Five years of schooling did not fully eliminate the gap in academic performance between students with different ESOL entry levels at kindergarten. However, entry level did not have an effect on attitudes towards bilingualism. ^ It is concluded that, although there was no significant difference between the two groups on measures of academic achievement in English, TWBE and transitional programs have differential effects. Students in the TWBE programs acquired oral language at a faster rate, developed literacy skills in their native language, and acquired more positive attitudes towards bilingualism. Theoretical, methodological, and policy implications of the findings are discussed. ^

Subject Area

Education, Bilingual and Multicultural|Education, Elementary|Education, Curriculum and Instruction

Recommended Citation

Maria Georgina Lopez, "Differential outcomes of two -way and transitional programs on English language learners at different entry levels" (January 1, 2005). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. Paper AAI3169460.
http://digitalcommons.fiu.edu/dissertations/AAI3169460

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