An investigation of mathematics and science instruction in English and Spanish for English language learners

Marina Rodriguez-Esquivel, Florida International University


The contextual demands of language in content area are difficult for ELLS. Content in the native language furthers students' academic development and native language skills, while they are learning English. Content in English integrates pedagogical strategies for English acquisition with subject area instruction. The following models of curriculum content are provided in most Miami Dade County Public Schools: (a) mathematics instruction in the native language with science instruction in English or (b) science instruction in the native language with mathematics instruction in English. The purpose of this study was to investigate which model of instruction is more contextually supportive for mathematics and science achievement. ^ A pretest and posttest, nonequivalent group design was used with 94 fifth grade ELLs who received instruction in curriculum model (a) or (b). This allowed for statistical analysis that detected a difference in the means of .5 standard deviations with a power of .80 at the .05 level of significance. Pretreatment and post-treatment assessments of mathematics, reading, and science achievement were obtained through the administration of Aprenda-Segunda Edición and the Florida Comprehensive Achievement Test. ^ The results indicated that students receiving mathematics in English and Science in Spanish scored higher on achievement tests in both Mathematics and Science than the students who received Mathematics in Spanish and Science in English. In addition, the mean score of students on the FCAT mathematics examination was higher than their mean score on the FCAT science examination regardless of the language of instruction. ^

Subject Area

Education, Mathematics|Education, Bilingual and Multicultural|Education, Sciences

Recommended Citation

Rodriguez-Esquivel, Marina, "An investigation of mathematics and science instruction in English and Spanish for English language learners" (2005). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3206033.