Do Spanish-dominant students instructed in Spanish in elementary school achieve differently in high school than those instructed in English only? Alternate title: Comparing High School Achievement of Bilingual and English-only Instructed Elementary School Students.
This report examines the achievement of a purposeful (non-randomly selected) sample of 104 Hispanic students who attended a San Diego County high school district; 3 groups of students had experienced primary language instruction in Spanish and 1 group was submersed in English in elementary school. Subjects were identified as ELs as they entered kindergarten or first grade before January. Two of the bilingual programs, A and B, provided more support in Spanish than the third, Program C. Measures of achievement utilized include a) high school graduation, b) completion of 1 AVID class, c) completion of 1 year of Algebra I, and d) completion of one advanced placement class. Subjects who had bilingual education outperformed submersion subjects on the measures of high school graduation, completion of one AVID class, and completion of 1 year of Algebra I. A higher rate of subjects who were submersed in English took at least one advanced placement class. Subjects in bilingual Programs A and B showed better results than the other 2 groups on the above three measures. Program B graduates took advanced placement classes at a higher rate than the submersion group. Study limitations include a lack of socioeconomic data for subjects and the fact that most of Program A and B students attended 1 middle school and most of Program C students attended another.