Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Achievement of children identified with special needs in two -way Spanish immersion programs
by Myers, Marjorie L., Ed.D., The George Washington University, 2009, 291; 3349861
Abstract (Summary)

Achievement of children identified with special needs in two-way Spanish immersion programs is a study that compares the standardized test results of special education students in two-way Spanish immersion (TWI) to a random sample of similar students in monolingual English-only public elementary schools in a Northern Virginia school district.

In the 1970’s two-way immersion (TWI) programs were established to offer an attractive alternative educational focus to highly able or gifted public school students. Students who were struggling with English and from less economically advantaged families were encouraged to attend English as a second language classes rather than participate in two-way bilingual enrichment. Rarely would a special needs child be considered for TWI. In 1986, the school district implemented the first TWI program. Highly able English speakers and balanced bilinguals were admitted. Special needs children were assigned to self-contained classes. In 1995, when the school became a school-wide two-way Spanish immersion school, the special education students were included fully in immersion. Since then, there has been a need to evaluate their achievement in TWI that by all accounts should be too challenging for struggling learners. This is the basis for the research.

The Planning and Evaluation Office supplied the test scores of the TWI and regular education developmentally delayed, emotionally disturbed, learning disability, and other health impaired students. The quantitative results showed that despite the educational program, students were not significantly impacted by their program. Language and socio-economic status did play a significant role in their success. The two-way immersion program had no statistically significant bearing on their academic achievement.

The academic success of special needs children is as strong in dual language as in regular elementary programs. English speakers were more successful than Spanish speakers in both environments. Children on free/reduced lunch were less successful in each environment. Students with special needs in a two-way Spanish immersion educational environment were found to have comparable academic achievement levels to students in English only schools.

The information in this study will add to the research in the field about the achievement of children with special needs in two-way immersion programs.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Mazur, Amy J.
Commitee: Chamot, Anna U., Paratore, Salvatore R.
School: The George Washington University
Department: Education and Human Development
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-A 70/03, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Bilingual education, Special education
Keywords: Achievement, Bilingual, Bilingual special education, L1 & L2 speakers, Spanish immersion, Special education in TWI, Special needs, Students with disabilties, Two-way Spanish immersion, Two-way immersion (TWI)
Publication Number: 3349861
ISBN: 978-1-109-06204-5
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