Languages, and in particular dual language programs, increase achievement on standardized tests and are shown to narrow the achievement gap not only for English learners but for all students.
A number of important longitudinal studies show that students in dual language programs:
- achieve significantly higher test scores regardless of race, socioeconomic status, special needs and language spoken at home
- have increased attendance and fewer behavioral referrals
- have up to 14 points lower rates of classification as English Language Learners (ELLs) by sixth grade and retain their advantage better and longer than with any other intervention (see graph)
- have cognitive advantages, better executive functioning and a number of other skills that help them become better learners
- become bilingual and biliterate!
DC Public Schools’ own Chancellor Wilson acknowledges the gap-closing value of multilingual education. Given the District’s widening achievement gap and the fact that only 20% of District English learners are in dual language programs, it is high time to use dual language education to address the achievement gap.