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The primary goals of a Dual Language bilingual program model are the following:

  • The development of fluency and literacy in English and in an additional language for all studentswith special attention given to ELLs participating in the program
  • The integration of English speakers and ELLs for academic instruction in accordance with theselected program design and model. Whenever possible, 50% of the students in a programshould be dominant English speakers and 50% of the students should be native speakers ofSpanish at the beginning of the program.
  • The promotion of bilingualism, biliteracy, cross-cultural awareness, and high academicachievement

Benefits of Dual Language

The Dual Language bilingual program is based on research that has shown high rates of academic success in both English and the native language for English Language Learners (Collier, 1995). These studies document the numerous benefits of extended primary language instruction for these students. Equally important, research from foreign language immersion programs demonstrates that native English-speaking students achieve superior scores on measures of second language proficiency while performing scholastically at a level equal to or higher than their peers who have received all of their elementary school education in English (Cummins, 1996).

This model is also based on Dr. Virginia Collier’s longitudinal studies documenting the most effective bilingual programs. Collier has noted that native English-speaking students who participate in a two-way bilingual program attain high levels of cognitive Spanish proficiency. This accomplishment is due to the amount of instructional time the students are immersed in the target language. Collier and Thomas’ more recent longitudinal study (1996-2001) from the Center for Research on Education, Diversity, and Excellence (CREDE) further proves the effectiveness of this bilingual program model. According to this study, students who participate in well-implemented Dual Language programs perform at or above grade level on district and state tests, as well as achieve advanced levels of proficiency in two languages (Collier & Thomas, 1997). Research also has found that all students in Dual Language programs, regardless of their pattern of language dominance, do as well as or better than students in monolingual English programs on standardized tests administered in English (Freeman, Freeman and Mercuri 2005, xiv). Additionally, graduates from these programs have a head start on language requirements for college and have enhanced employment opportunities.

Overall, the Dual Language bilingual program is the only bilingual education model that researchers have found to date that assists ELLs to fully reach grade-level performance and either maintain that level of high achievement or reach even higher levels by the end of high school. Also, the fewest dropouts come from this type of program (Thomas & Collier, 2009). An additional benefit is that students who receive Dual Language services also achieve grade-level performance in their first language, graduating deeply proficient in two languages. Thus, they are resources for the community, the professional world, and the larger society, able to make use of their two languages as adults for the benefit of the communities of the 21st century (Thomas & Collier, 2009).