DOES BILINGUALISM IMPROVE ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE? ESTIMATING THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN FOREIGN LANGUAGES SPOKEN AT HOME AND STUDENT TEST SCORES
Yang Choy, Yessica
Wei, Thomas E.
During the 2013-14 school year, nearly 10 percent of students in U.S. public elementary and secondary schools are English-learners. Limitation in the scope of previous research prevents researchers from understanding whether a non-English language spoken at home has an effect on student test scores. Using the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten 1998-99, this study examines the role of bilingualism – when a non-English language is spoken at home – plays in students’ academic performance and their developmental trajectories in early school years. Ordinary Least Square results show that despite starting with lower math and the reading scores in kindergarten, bilingual students fully close the math gap by 1st grade and reading gap by 5th grade. However, home and community factors, school factors, and student characteristics explain more of these differences than bilingualism.
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