The effects of dual language programs on the student achievement of English learners

The nation’s increasing Spanish speaking population with limited English proficiency poses a challenge to the educational system. Educational policy and practice are influenced by conflicting interpretations of research causing opposing opinions about language of instruction for English language Learners. After many years of research, there is no conclusive evidence on which method better serves English Learners towards English language proficiency. This study compared the achievement of English Learners who participated in a dual language program with English Learners who participated in a traditional classroom program. CST scores in English language arts were analyzed to compare academic progress, to determine which instructional approach better serves this student population in pursuing academic English language proficiency. The results suggest that English Learners who participated in the Dual Language Academy showed greater achievement than the English Learners who did not participate. These findings are congruent with bilingual education advocates asserting that English Learners’ performance in these types of programs is better than, or at least as good as English Learners’ performance in programs conducted only in English.