Dual-language-immersion programs, especially those that prioritize students becoming fluent in their home language first, can delay English proficiency in Latino English-learners but still benefit them in the long run,in the American Education Research Journal.
Researchers from Stanford University and the University of Oregon, in Eugene, examined differences in rates of reclassification—in which an English-learner is deemed proficient in English, based on an analysis of 12 years of data on 5,423 English-learners in a large diverse urban district. They looked at students enrolled in four different types of ELL programs: English immersion, transitional bilingual (for grades K-3), maintenance bilingual (for grades K-5 or above), and dual-language immersion.
Latino ELLs in dual-language programs took longer to be reclassified than those in other programs, the researchers found, but by the end of high school, they had higher fluency in both languages and better academic achievement.
A version of this article appeared in the August 27, 2014 edition of Education Week as English-Language Learners