Evaluating the Effectiveness of Dual Language Programs for English Learners in Texas Secondary Schools



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Compared to traditional English as a Second Language (ESL) programs, Dual Language (DL) programs offer a promising approach for schools to help their English Learners (EL) become English proficient. This research project will compare the effectiveness of Dual Language and ESL programs for English Learners in secondary schools throughout Texas. Aggregate STAAR data from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) was used to gather a list of 57 Texas secondary schools that offer both DL and ESL programs. The Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment System (TELPAS) dataset was used to measure the average percentage of English Learners who progressed at least one proficiency level on the TELPAS from the 2017-2018 academic year to the 2018-2019 academic year. A propensity score match was conducted, in which the treatment group consisted of the 57 secondary schools that offer DL and ESL programs, and the control group consisted of the remaining secondary schools (4,565) that only offer ESL programs. After the matched control group was identified, the TELPAS “yearly progress” data was pulled for the English Learners in the treatment and matched control groups. On average, a higher percentage of English Learners in the treatment group progressed at least one proficiency level on the TELPAS compared to the English Learners in the matched control group. These results suggest that, in Texas secondary schools, Dual Language programs are more effective than ESL programs in helping English Learners improve their English proficiency from one academic year to the next.