Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

An examination of Spanish language achievement, use, and attitudes in a dual immersion setting
by Ceron, Paul M., Ed.D., California State University, Long Beach, 2016, 230; 10252062
Abstract (Summary)

The education of English Learners in the United States is an urgent matter that merits the attention and, more importantly, action from the educational and academic communities. A long history of oppression of non-English speaking peoples echoes in the consistently low academic achievement results of students identified as English Learners and economically disadvantaged. The benefits of dual immersion programs in closing the achievement gap and producing students with proficiency in English have been documented and supported through years of research and analyses. However, neither political leaders nor the research community have focused sufficient attention on Spanish language outcomes, in regard to language development and academic achievement. In a political context where new federal policy, Every Student Succeeds Act of 2016 (ESSA), and the California educational policy known as the LEARN initiative (Lara, 2016), allow for more local control of funds and programs for underserved student subgroups, including English Learners, it is more important than ever to explore and critically analyze programs that have the potential to meet these students’ academic and cultural needs.

The intent of this mixed-methods case study was to examine the Spanish language achievement, classroom use, and language attitudes of 4th and 5th grade students and their teachers in a dual immersion setting in a large urban school district in Southern California. Through classroom observations and participant interviews, qualitative data was analyzed to explore the implementation of dual immersion at three elementary school sites. Quantitative analysis of Spanish language assessment results in reading and mathematics from four dual immersion elementary sites allowed for the exploration and description of students’ Spanish language achievement within the district.

The findings from this case study included lower Spanish achievement outcomes for Spanish-speaking English Learners and economically disadvantaged students in comparison to English proficient and economically advantaged classmates. Classroom observations during Spanish instruction and participant interviews revealed significant differences in program implementation and support at each school site. Alarming achievement outcomes combined with qualitative findings highlight the need for more research on dual immersion programs that focus on Spanish language development and qualitative data collection and analysis. Study findings and recommendations highlight the need for specialized training for district and school leadership as well as school-wide faculty and staff where dual immersion programs are implemented.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Reese, Leslie
Commitee: Crosthwaite, Gudiel, Scott, James
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Educational Leadership
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 78/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Bilingual education, Elementary education, Language
Keywords: Dual immersion, Dual language, Educational equity, English learners, Latina/o critical race theory, Spanish
Publication Number: 10252062
ISBN: 978-1-369-53341-5
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