Educational effectiveness of a two -way dual language program

Francisco Mercado, University of Texas at El Paso


Although some studies have begun to describe the nature of second language acquisition for students learning Spanish and the maintenance of the Spanish language for Spanish-dominant speakers, many questions remain unanswered. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a two-way dual language program. This was done by applying the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) and Center for Research on Education, Diversity and Excellence's (CREDE) rubric Criteria for Success in a Two-Way Dual Language Program, to the program under evaluation. The aim of this research study was to evaluate the learning of Spanish lexicon by English-dominant children acquiring Spanish as a second language and Spanish dominant children enhancing their native language. The subjects of this study, one hundred twenty-nine students from two classrooms in each grade level, K–4th, were chosen at random as a representative sample of the program's population. The test instruments were the Pre-Language Assessment Scale-Oral, (PreLAS-O) Spanish and the Language Assessment Scale-Oral, (LAS-O) Spanish. They were administered to the students enrolled in the two-way dual language program being evaluated. Measures of growth were derived from the differences between the results of the pretest and the posttest. A t-test for paired samples analysis was conducted between the means (averages) of the two tests' scores. Also, the students passing rate on the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS) was compared with the passing rate of a comparable group of monolingual students from the same school campus. The results showed that the two-way dual language program was a source of enrichment for all of the students enrolled in the program. The gains in Spanish acquisition and enhancement were proven to be statistically significant. An additional bonus for the students enrolled in this program was a higher passing rate on the TAAS test than their cohorts enrolled in mainstream English-only classrooms. The findings, conclusions, and recommendations stated in this report should be considered by educational leaders when developing and implementing new programs. This could lead to a more appropriate second language acquisition curriculum along with the improvement of teacher training for two-way dual language programs.

Subject Area

Bilingual education|Multicultural education

Recommended Citation

Mercado, Francisco, "Educational effectiveness of a two -way dual language program" (2002). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI3080478.