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Reading 14

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PSYC 341
Richard Koestner

Reading 10 – P. 241-270 Research on Reading and Writing in Dual-Language Programs The following studies indicate that, given effective programs, English learners can acquire reading and writing skills in English that are virtually comparable to those of English-only students, and, at the same time, they acquire strong reading and writing skills in Spanish. Howard and Lindholm-Leary, et al. : studies on the reading and writing development of both English learners and English-only students in two-way programs - Importance: The research goes beyond reporting scores on achievement tests and provides detailed descriptions of student’s actual reading and writing performance in both English and Spanish - They found that English learners developed high-level reading and writing skills in both languages, meeting or exceeding grade-level norms - The achievement gaps between English learners and English only students were narrowed at least by grade five - Writing scores of English learners in English and Spanish were similar at all time points - English learners’ English and Spanish writing skills were fairly sophisticated in all four domains of analysis: organisation, topic development, mechanics and language use o Spanish essays showed more mechanical errors, more linguistic/grammatical errors like word order, word choice, and subject-verb agreement o Also showed influence form English vocabulary (i.e.: borrowing words) and grammar and mechanics - All English essays were comparable, especially in grades five and six - In a longitudinal study, English learners who began kindergarten with fairly low vocabulary in Spanish made substantial gain to above average by grade three o Furthermore, their vocabulary scores for grade three highly correlated with reading achievement scores on norm-referenced achievement tests in both Spanish and English Academic Achievement Most studies have concentrated on students in elementary school and few have focused on high-school students to determine the influence of participation in a bilingual or dual-language program during elementary on later achievement levels (examining GPA, drop-out or retention rates, and attitudes). There have been few longitudinal studies to follow these students from elementary school into later life. Most studies on English learners have focused on two-way programs, incidentally, these were also comparative evaluations of outcomes in various program models. In general, these studies were designed to answer one of the three following questions: 1. Which program is best for English learners? a. It is widely indicated that there is a benefit from bilingual instruction over English-only instruction (only a minority of studies indicates the contrary) b. Overview of recent syntheses i. Francis et al. (2006) : As Part of the National Literacy Panel on Language- Minority Children and Youth, studies that compared programs that provided literacy instruction through a student’s native language (bilingual program) with program that provided literacy and other instruction only through English were examined 1. Conclusion : The differences between the two institutional conditions favoured bilingual instruction. This is the case both for elementary and secondary schools. ii. Lindholm-Leary and Borsato (2006) : They performed a synthesis of available research on the achievement of English learners 1. Conclusions : a. There is strong convergent evidence that the academic achievement of English learners is positively related to sustained instruction that includes their first language, usually Spanish. b. Student achievement is related to the length of participation in the program and the time of assessment (later assessment shows better results) c. Students who have received bilingual instruction in elementary school are as or more successful than comparison group students. d. The longer students stay in the program, the more positive their outcomes are. c. Limitations i. Varying definitions of program models under investigations 1. It is not clear whether bilingual programs should be defined as to the amount of time devoted to instruction through each language or the duration of the program 2. This means that it is difficult to pinpoint the exact features of a program that actually produce the positive effects ii. Cross-sectional vs. longitudinal studies 1. Most studies are cross-sectional, which means that it is not always clear if students had been in the same program prior to the evaluation or whether they had changed programs. 2. Indeed, data analysis in Arizona showed that program placement was erratic and variable year to year 3. Changing programs can have important effects on program and student outcomes. This makes it hard to pinpoint which program produces the positive results d. Summary i. English learners who participate in a bilingual program may achieve at higher levels than English learners educated in English-only mainstream classrooms ii. English learners who participate in programs that provided extended instruction through students’ native language (two-way immersion and late-exit programs) outperforms students who receive only short-term instruction through their native language iii. There is no one best model that will serve all English learners at all times. It is important to provide services for English learners that consider the community context, the needs of students to be served, and the resources that are available for implementing the program 2. Does more English lead to higher achievement in English? 3. How well do students do in dual-language programs? Characteristics of Effective Dual-Language Programs Aligned Program and School Structure - Additive Bilingualism o All students are given the opportunity to acquire English as a second language at no cost to their home language o Associated with:  grade-level achievement in the content domains  high levels of proficiency in the second language  no loss of the home language - Subtractive Bilingualism o Contexts in which learners’ second language replaces the native language o Associated with:  Lover levels of second-language attainment  Scholastic underachievement  Alienation from families and peers speaking the first language  Difficulties with identity Promoting additive bilingualism requires that school principals and teachers have some familiarity with research on dual-language education and its outcomes. It is important that teachers have access to the resources needed to implement an effective program, including: adequate support personnel, instructional and material resources, and time for planning and development. Successful dual-language programs engage in extensive and high-level planning and, in particular, plan for articulation across grade levels and programs. This means collaborative planning and it represent a value-added education as it seeks to invest children with additional language and cultural competencies on top of the mainstream curriculum. Supportive and knowledgeable leadership is essential to guide decision-making about critical issues in dual-language schools. Decisions concerning the allocation of time to each language and the sequencing of literary instruction are chief among them. - Three prominent models of dual-language education: o Developmental bilingual o Two-way immersion o Transitional - Developmental and two-way models can be further differentiated by t
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