Three Theories of the Effects of Language Education Programs: An Empirical Evaluation of Bilingual and English-Only Policies

Jeff Macswan, Marilyn Thompson, Kellie Rolstad, Kara McAlister, Gerda Lobo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We empirically evaluated three theoretical models - the threshold hypothesis, transfer theory, and time-on-task theory - for educating English language learners (ELLs), with a focus on the role of language factors in explaining achievement differences among ELLs. Participants were 196 sixth graders with Spanish language backgrounds who started learning English in kindergarten and then were continuously enrolled in a U.S. school. Structural equation modeling was used to estimate the extent to which Spanish and English language and literacy - skills that are emphasized differentially in competing theories for educating ELLs - predict academic achievement assessed in English. Results indicated that Spanish literacy, over and above English language proficiency, was substantially predictive of academic achievement, consistent with the transfer theory. This model was a more focused version of the threshold hypothesis, in that the weaker predictor of Spanish oral language proficiency was excluded. Time-on task theory was not supported.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)218-240
Number of pages23
JournalAnnual Review of Applied Linguistics
Volume37
DOIs
StatePublished - 2017

Fingerprint

language education
English language
evaluation
Spanish language
academic achievement
literacy
language
kindergarten
Language
Evaluation
English-only
Education Program
school
learning
English Language Learners
time
Spanish Language
Language Proficiency
Academic Achievement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

Cite this

Three Theories of the Effects of Language Education Programs : An Empirical Evaluation of Bilingual and English-Only Policies. / Macswan, Jeff; Thompson, Marilyn; Rolstad, Kellie; McAlister, Kara; Lobo, Gerda.

In: Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, Vol. 37, 2017, p. 218-240.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{93cc8c44d7744371bb415ffe0c62dce2,
title = "Three Theories of the Effects of Language Education Programs: An Empirical Evaluation of Bilingual and English-Only Policies",
abstract = "We empirically evaluated three theoretical models - the threshold hypothesis, transfer theory, and time-on-task theory - for educating English language learners (ELLs), with a focus on the role of language factors in explaining achievement differences among ELLs. Participants were 196 sixth graders with Spanish language backgrounds who started learning English in kindergarten and then were continuously enrolled in a U.S. school. Structural equation modeling was used to estimate the extent to which Spanish and English language and literacy - skills that are emphasized differentially in competing theories for educating ELLs - predict academic achievement assessed in English. Results indicated that Spanish literacy, over and above English language proficiency, was substantially predictive of academic achievement, consistent with the transfer theory. This model was a more focused version of the threshold hypothesis, in that the weaker predictor of Spanish oral language proficiency was excluded. Time-on task theory was not supported.",
author = "Jeff Macswan and Marilyn Thompson and Kellie Rolstad and Kara McAlister and Gerda Lobo",
year = "2017",
doi = "10.1017/S0267190517000137",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "37",
pages = "218--240",
journal = "Annual Review of Applied Linguistics",
issn = "0267-1905",
publisher = "Cambridge University Press",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Three Theories of the Effects of Language Education Programs

T2 - An Empirical Evaluation of Bilingual and English-Only Policies

AU - Macswan, Jeff

AU - Thompson, Marilyn

AU - Rolstad, Kellie

AU - McAlister, Kara

AU - Lobo, Gerda

PY - 2017

Y1 - 2017

N2 - We empirically evaluated three theoretical models - the threshold hypothesis, transfer theory, and time-on-task theory - for educating English language learners (ELLs), with a focus on the role of language factors in explaining achievement differences among ELLs. Participants were 196 sixth graders with Spanish language backgrounds who started learning English in kindergarten and then were continuously enrolled in a U.S. school. Structural equation modeling was used to estimate the extent to which Spanish and English language and literacy - skills that are emphasized differentially in competing theories for educating ELLs - predict academic achievement assessed in English. Results indicated that Spanish literacy, over and above English language proficiency, was substantially predictive of academic achievement, consistent with the transfer theory. This model was a more focused version of the threshold hypothesis, in that the weaker predictor of Spanish oral language proficiency was excluded. Time-on task theory was not supported.

AB - We empirically evaluated three theoretical models - the threshold hypothesis, transfer theory, and time-on-task theory - for educating English language learners (ELLs), with a focus on the role of language factors in explaining achievement differences among ELLs. Participants were 196 sixth graders with Spanish language backgrounds who started learning English in kindergarten and then were continuously enrolled in a U.S. school. Structural equation modeling was used to estimate the extent to which Spanish and English language and literacy - skills that are emphasized differentially in competing theories for educating ELLs - predict academic achievement assessed in English. Results indicated that Spanish literacy, over and above English language proficiency, was substantially predictive of academic achievement, consistent with the transfer theory. This model was a more focused version of the threshold hypothesis, in that the weaker predictor of Spanish oral language proficiency was excluded. Time-on task theory was not supported.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85032513980&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85032513980&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1017/S0267190517000137

DO - 10.1017/S0267190517000137

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:85032513980

VL - 37

SP - 218

EP - 240

JO - Annual Review of Applied Linguistics

JF - Annual Review of Applied Linguistics

SN - 0267-1905

ER -