DLI Research Alliance

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Teaser Image
Students gathered around their teacher_AdobeStock
Teaser Image
Students gathered around their teacher_AdobeStock

Dual language immersion can level the academic playing field for hundreds of thousands of students across the United States.

Dual language immersion (DLI) programs are rapidly becoming prominent across the country in cities and rural communities alike. As the linguistic diversity of U.S. schools continues to expand, DLI programs invite students to use their linguistic abilities as key assets in expanding multilingual instruction with native English-speaking students. These programs have been found to significantly raise student achievement in core subjects for both English learners (ELs) and native English speakers. 

Dual language education opens a necessary window for educational equity by increasing the achievement of all students. DLI programs have been found to reduce achievement gaps between different groups of students, eliminating predictable trends about which students are the highest and lowest achieving in a school system.

View our recent study results of a systematic national canvass of Dual Language Immersion (DLI) programs in the U.S.

DLI Table Excerpt


View our full portfolio for detailed information.

Our Alliance and Mission

The Alliance is a network of K-12 practitioners and education researchers seeking to advance quality and build capacity in dual language immersion learning by identifying core features and variables for quality implementation in DLI. These programs can successfully prepare students to be bilingual, biliterate, bicultural, and career and college-ready. The Alliance is positioned to address issues in research and policy to ensure long-term success for this important intervention strategy.

We seek to develop and carry out a rigorous research agenda on topics that matter to all schools involved in, or planning to be involved in dual language learning. The Alliance will advance equity and excellence in education by providing credible, nonpartisan research and evidence about policies and practices that promote student success. Specifically, we will:

  • Conduct rigorous applied research in collaboration with policymakers, educators, and other stakeholders;
  • Develop and maintain an archive of available longitudinal data on dual language immersion programs and communities to support ongoing research, and;
  • Disseminate research findings to multiple audiences around the nation.

Our Team

The Alliance is led by Dr. Robert Slater, co-director of ARC at American Councils. To ensure that the Alliance addresses a wide spectrum of research and policy questions that reflect the needs and concerns of school districts, we have identified a Steering Committee that works toward setting the agenda and future of the partnership.

Steering Group Members

  • Mr. Michael Bacon, Director, Department of Dual Language, Portland (OR) Public Schools
  • Dr. Donna Christian, Senior Fellow, Center for Applied Linguistics, Washington, DC
  • Ms. Lynn Fulton-Archer, Education Specialist, Delaware State Office of Education
  • Dr. Margaret Malone, Director, Center for Assessment, Research and Development, American Council of Teachers of Foreign Languages (ACTFL)
  • Ms. Rosa Molina, President, Association of Two-Way and Dual Language Education (ATDLE)
  • Mr. Gregg Roberts, Director, Dual Language Studies, American Councils Research Center (ARC)
  • Ms. Sylvia Romero-Johnson, Executive Director, Office of Multilingual and Global Education, Madison (WI) Public Schools
  • Dr. Robert Slater, Co-Director, American Councils Research Center (ARC)
  • Dr. Johanna Watzinger-Tharp, Associate Professor, Department of Linguistics, University of Utah
  • Mr. Jon Valentine, Director, Foreign Language Programs, Gwinnett County (GA) Public Schools

Our Practitioner Partners

We are joined in this initial effort by a group of founding partners. These partners already represent more than 500 dual language programs, with over 70,000 students enrolled in these programs. These include:

  • Anchorage (AL) School District
  • Cave Creek (AZ) Unified School District, Scottsdale, AZ
  • Delaware Department of Education, World Languages and International Education 
  • District of Columbia Public Schools
  • Gwinnett County (GA) Public Schools
  • Herrick (NY) Public Schools
  • Los Angeles Unified School District
  • Madison (WI) Metropolitan School District, Office of Multilingual and Global Education
  • Natrona (WY) County Schools
  • North Carolina Department of Public Instruction
  • Portland (OR) Public Schools, Department of Dual Language
  • Utah State Board of Education

Our Research Partners

Our researchers encompass a diverse range of disciplines and professions including education policy, second language learning, assessment, econometrics, and linguistics.

  • Dr. Alison Bailey, Professor, Graduate School of Education & Information Studies, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Dr. Richard Brecht, Co-Director, American Councils Research Center, American Councils for International Education
  • Dr. Donna Christian, Senior Fellow, Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL)
  • Dr. Dylan Conger, Associate Professor, Trachtenberg School of Public Policy, George Washington University
  • Dr. Dan Davidson, Senior Academic Advisor and President, Emeritus, American Councils for International Education
  • Dr. Susan Eaton, Director Sillerman Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy, Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University
  • Dr. Erika Feinauer, Associate Professor, Department of Teacher Education, Brigham Young University
  • Dr. Tara Fortune, Director, Immersion Programs, Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition, University of Minnesota
  • Dr. Patricia Gandara, Research Professor and Co-Director, The Civil Rights Project, UCLA
  • Dr. Elizabeth Howard, Associate Professor, Neag School of Education, University of Connecticut
  • Kathryn Lindholm-Leary, Private Consultant
  • Dr. Margaret Malone, Director, Center for Assessment, Research and Development, ACTFL.
  • Ms. Myriam Met, Private Consultant
  • Dr. Trey Miller, Economist, American Institutes for Research
  • Dr. Fernando Rubio, Associate Professor, Second Language Teaching and Research Center, Department of World Languages and Cultures, University of Utah
  • Dr. Robert Slater, Co-Director of the American Councils Research Center
  • Dr. Jennifer Steele, Associate Professor, School of Education, Teaching and Health, American University
  • Ann Tollefson, Private Consultant
  • Dr. Johanna Watzinger-Tharp, Associate Professor of Linguistics, College of Humanities, University of Utah
  • Dr. Conor Williams, Senior Researcher, Education Policy, New America
  • Dr. Gema Zamarro Rodriguez, Endowed Chair in Teacher Quality, College of Education and Health Professionals, University of Arkansas

Our Organizational Partners

Each of these organizations is a cornerstone to the Alliance’s efforts to ensure that our work reflects the expertise of the nation’s best researchers and policy experts.

  • American Council of Teachers of Foreign Languages (ACTFL)
  • Association of Two-Way and Dual Language Education (ATDLE)
  • Brandeis University, HSSPM
  • Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL)
  • Multistate Association of Bilingual Education, Northeast (MABE)
  • New America
  • The RAND Corporation
  • The University of California, Los Angeles, GSEIS
  • The University of Minnesota, CARLA
  • The University of Utah, L2TReC

Learn More

Contact Dr. Robert Slater or Gregg Roberts.