Across the Globe

Investigating the Effects of Dual-Language Immersion on Student Achievement

July 09, 2012
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WASHINGTON — American Councils for International Education is pleased to announce the award of a new, three-year research grant from the Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences. In partnership with the RAND Corporation and Portland Public Schools, American Councils launched a study on July 2, 2012, entitled "The Effect of Dual-Language Immersion on Student Achievement in the Portland Public Schools."

The study will examine the effect of dual-language immersion (DLI) on student achievement in English language arts, mathematics, and science. The link between foreign language study and educational performance in other K-12 subject areas is a matter of concern for educational policymakers and educators in many countries.

American Councils will collaborate with RAND, a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decision-making through research and analysis, on project design and implementation. American Councils will also be responsible for assisting in establishing metrics for student achievement in science, technology and related fields at the elementary and secondary school level, as well as metrics for second-language acquisition within the context of a dual-language immersion K-12 program.

American Councils President Dan E. Davidson, PhD, said, "The design of the dual-language immersion program in the Portland Public School District presents an excellent opportunity for a rigorous evaluation of the effects of immersion programs on student achievement in core areas. The RAND Corporation has broad expertise in education research and is uniquely qualified to manage, implement, and disseminate the outcomes of this project. We look forward to working closely with RAND and PPS in this project."

Robert Slater, PhD, will serve as the project's co-principal investigator, overseeing all aspects of American Councils' involvement, including establishing project processes and goals, setting research criteria, overseeing data collection, analysis, and reporting. On behalf of American Councils, Dr. Slater will work closely with RAND and Portland Public Schools to review research efforts on a regular basis, and to advise on the dissemination of project results to the foreign language community. Dr. Davidson will work closely with Dr. Slater to provide resources for current research on immersion learning, two-way immersion studies at the K-12 level, and bilingual education.