Effectiveness of four instructional programs designed to serve English language learners: Variation by ethnicity and initial English proficiency

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Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis

This paper investigates the differences in academic achievement trajectories from elementary through middle school among English Learner students in four different instructional programs: English Immersion, Transitional Bilingual, Developmental Bilingual, and Dual Immersion programs. Comparing students with the same parental preferences but who attend different programs, we find that the ELA test scores of ELs in all bilingual programs grow at least as fast as, if not faster than those in English immersion. The same is generally true of math, with the exception of developmental bilingual programs, where average student scores grow more slowly than those of students in English immersion. Further, Latino ELs perform better longitudinally in both subjects when in bilingual programs than their Chinese EL counterparts. We find no differences in program effectiveness by ELs’ initial English proficiency.

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