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BEE Project: Bilingualism, Education, and Excellence

The purpose of this study is to examine associations between language of instruction, student engagement, academic-self-concept, approaches to learning, student-teacher relationships, and gains in academic outcomes for students attending Dual Language (DL) educational settings. Two aims examine whether: 1) language of instruction (i.e., amount of instruction in English and in Spanish) predicts fall to spring gains in students’ academic outcomes in English and in Spanish, and whether these associations vary by student proficiency in each language; and 2) these associations between language of instruction and gains in student academic outcomes in English and Spanish are mediated by student engagement, academic self-concept, approaches to learning, and student-teacher relationships.

During Years 1-2, we will work with 4 NC elementary schools offering Spanish/English DL programming across two school districts. Both districts offer Spanish/English Dual Language programming (50/50 model and 90/10 model). We will recruit approximately 1,200 students across kindergarten through 3rd grade from 50 DL classrooms. All students will be invited to participate, and from the larger pool we will randomly select 6 students from each classroom (n=300; 150 in Year 1 and 150 in Year 2) to participate in child-level data collection. Random selection will be stratified by student home language background. Students will be assessed in Spanish and English in the fall and the spring on measures of language skills, academic outcomes, and academic self-concept. Students’ classroom engagement will be observed twice during the winter. Teachers will complete questionnaires about students’ learning problems (at fall and spring), approaches to learning, study skills, and student-teacher relationships (during winter). Amount of Spanish and English instruction will be rated by observers and teachers (fall and spring). Measures include: 1) academic outcomes in English and Spanish (receptive vocabulary, expressive vocabulary, literacy/reading, math, learning problems), report card grades, and retention; 2) student-teacher relations; 3) proficiency in English and Spanish; 4) academic self-concept; 5) engagement (classroom engagement, study skills); 6) approaches to learning; 7) amount of English and Spanish instruction; and 8) demographics. The analysis plan includes preliminary analyses (descriptive statistics, correlations) and the study aims will be examined using hierarchical linear modeling.

This research is in collaboration with Dr. Adam Winsler at George Mason University.


Funding Agency:  

U.S. Department of Education

Funding Period:  

07/01/2018 to 06/30/2024

Award Amount:  



Doré R. LaForett, Principal Investigator
Ximena Franco-Jenkins, Co-Principal Investigator
Sabrina Zadrozny, Data Management and Analysis Core Director