Dual -language education: A longitudinal study of students' achievement in an El Paso County, Texas school district

Pauline A Dow, University of Texas at El Paso


This dissertation describes a longitudinal study of one-way and two-way bilingual education programs (also known as dual-language programs) to assess achievement of elementary-aged English learners (ELs) in a school district located in El Paso County, Texas, using both norm-referenced and criterion-referenced tests. The design features assessment for bilingual students‘ language skills in both English and Spanish, which allows for the examination of the interrelationships among skills in the two languages. The study also compares the achievement of ELs and non-ELs in the two-way program. The work reported in this dissertation was conducted with a common group of children over a six year period. Results indicate that English learners, after six years participating in the one-way or two-way program, are performing slightly below their non-English learner peers when tested in English in grade 6. Results also indicate that there is a modest difference in the achievement of ELs participating in the two-way program compared to ELs participating in the one-way program when tested in both Spanish and English; two-way students are doing better in both reading and math. Spanish and English reading scores were highly correlated. The results support the theory that a child with a strong foundation in the first language, in this case Spanish, will perform better in English over the long term.

Subject Area

Language arts|Bilingual education|Teacher education

Recommended Citation

Dow, Pauline A, "Dual -language education: A longitudinal study of students' achievement in an El Paso County, Texas school district" (2008). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI3341640.