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Interview: New Research Links Dual Immersion to Reading Score Gains

New America – Janie T. Carnock

“Last month, my colleague Amaya Garcia wrote about how Portland Public Schools are using dual immersion programs (sometimes referred to as “dual-language immersion” programs) to increase educational equity. District leaders see dual immersion programs — where core content is taught in English and a partner language — as a key lever for closing the achievement gap for English language learners (ELLs) as well as other “traditionally underserved” students. As the earlier post notes, recent findings from a study of Portland Public Schools add to a growing body of research suggesting academic benefits of dual-language immersion for all students, including ELLs. Researchers at the RAND Corporation and the American Councils for International Education found that students randomly assigned to dual-language immersion outperformed their peers in reading by seven months in the fifth grade and nine months in eighth grade. Results did not differ significantly by native language status, meaning native English speakers and ELLs benefitted from immersion at similar levels. Additionally, the study found that immersion students were three times less likely to be classified as ELLs by the sixth grade.”(more)

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