The Effectiveness of Traditional vs. Developmental Bilingual Programs within the Same Large Urban Texas School District: Implications for School Leaders
Villarreal, Javier 1975-
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District and school-based administrators are faced with the challenge of responding to strict legislative demands, dealing with the coupling effect of increasing necessities and decreasing budgets, while at the same time, keeping up with educational reform and increasing student achievement. “High-stakes” testing is the primary method through which student achievement is measured, and research findings indicate that there is a disproportionate impact of testing on minority children and how it denies them the right to an adequate education. With the Hispanic population growing at a rapid pace, meeting the needs of English language learners (ELLs) is key. The purpose of this research was to provide research and data examining the effectiveness of the Traditional bilingual program and the Developmental bilingual program in terms of academic success on the fifth-grade Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) Reading and Mathematics scores amongst eight elementary schools in a large urban school district. In addition, this study sought to define the effectiveness of bilingual education by examining the experiences, knowledge, and perceptions of principals who were involved in bilingual programs at their schools. Data was collected through a mixed-methods research approach. Subsequently quantitative data was obtained through archival test scores from selected students in a large urban school district, while the qualitative portion was conducted via structured, open-ended interviews with principals. The findings support that students served under the Developmental bilingual program outperform students served under the Traditional bilingual program on the fifth-grade TAKS Reading and TAKS Math assessments. This study’s findings also provided some significance to existing literature supporting bilingual education in terms of students with strong native-language proficiency are more likely to develop greater English proficiency, and native language instruction bolsters English language learners’ academic success.