DataBank Indicator

Dual Language Learners

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Nearly one in three U.S. children lives in a household where a language other than English is spoken. Dual language learners have the potential to excel in an increasingly diverse society. However, their academic achievement lags behind that of children whose only home language is English.

Importance

Dual language learners (DLLs) are a diverse group of children. Many are, or have parents who are, recent immigrants, but their home language environment may include both English-speakers and those who maintain a heritage language long after the immigration experience. Some are infants and toddlers acquiring two languages simultaneously; others are older children learning English after having gained facility in another language.[1]

Language acquisition is one of the most important developmental accomplishments of childhood. As early as infancy, young children begin making sense of language they hear, and producing language-like vocalizations. Over time, they acquire vocabulary, become more proficient in speaking according to the rules of their language, and participate in more complex conversation. These developments, together with knowledge of the relationships between letters/signs and sounds that are part of developing literacy, in turn underlie an ability to read and write. Learning a second language after one already has facility in a primary language naturally follows a somewhat different process than simultaneous learning of two languages.[2]

Worldwide, many children grow up in multi-lingual families or societies.[3] Research has demonstrated conclusively that learning two or more languages concurrently, far from being a disadvantage, is associated with multiple benefits, provided that the child is supported in maintaining both languages. Full fluency in a language is most easily gained when a child is exposed to it in the first few years of life; after that time, language learning becomes more difficult, though certainly not impossible. Knowing more than one language is also associated with cognitive flexibility and other aspects of executive control; with skills in divergent thinking, perspective-taking, and symbolic representation; and with multicultural awareness.[4]

There are also social-emotional benefits to developing and maintaining bilingualism. When children can speak their parents’ heritage language, they are able to maintain closer relationships with family members.[5] The research evidence finds that young DLLs have social-emotional skills equal to or better than those of monolingual English speakers.[6]

Nevertheless, when children or their parents lack proficiency in English, they may be at a disadvantage.[7] DLLs, on average, enter school with lower English literacy skills than those of monolinguals,[8]  and research finds that it takes between four and seven years for DLLs to become proficient in academic English (needed for success in the classroom).[9] Those DLLs who become proficient in English by the end of first grade have better academic outcomes over time than do DLLs who do not become proficient in English by the end of first grade.[10]

There is no single consistently used definition of dual language learners. The one used here takes an inclusive approach, counting as DLLs all children living in a household where one or more members speak a language other than English. We assume that these children, in addition to their exposure to a non-English language, have some degree of exposure to English. For children in this group who are five and older, we can further identify those who speak English less than “very well.”

Trends

127_fig1Between 2004 and 2013, the number of U.S. children living in households where a language other than English was spoken increased from 20 million to 23 million children. (Appendix 1) That is an increase from 28 to 32 percent of all children. The proportion of children in Spanish-language households increased from 19 to 22 percent in 2012, but fell to 21 percent in 2013, and those in Asian-and-Pacific-Island-language households increased from three to four percent. Those in other-Indo-European-language households remained steady, at about five percent. (Figure 1)

Even while the proportion of children who are dual language learners has grown, a steadily declining number of children in these households speak English less than “very well”: between 2004 and 2013, the number decreased from 2.8 million to 2.4 million children. This represents a decrease from 20 to 15 percent of all dual language learners older than four years. (Appendix 3)

The U.S. Department of Education estimates that, across all reporting public school districts in the nation (elementary and secondary grades), there were 4.5 million English language learner (ELL)[a] students (nine percent of all students) in the 2011-12 school year.[11]

Differences by Household Language

127_fig2Among children living in non-English language households, Spanish is by far the most prevalent household language, accounting for about two-thirds of this group, or about 16 million children ages birth through age 17 in 2013. The next largest group (about four million children) are those in households using some other Indo-European language, such as French, German, Russian, or Hindi, followed by children in households using an Asian or Pacific Island language (about three million). (Appendix 1)

Among children five and older living in non-English households, the proportion speaking English less than “very well” was 15 percent in 2013. Children in households using an Asian or Pacific Island language were the most likely to speak English less than very well (16 percent), and those in households speaking a language that was not an Indo-European, Asian, or Pacific Island language were the least likely (nine percent). (Figure 2)

Differences by Age

Younger children in non-English households are more likely than their older peers to speak English less than very well. In 2013, 16 percent of such children ages 5 to 12 spoke English less than very well, compared with 11 percent of children ages 13 to 17. (Appendix 3)

Differences by Household Income

127_fig3Children living in households where a language other than English is spoken are more likely to be poor than are children in English-only households (28 versus 19 percent, in 2013). Child poverty rates are highest in Spanish-speaking households (33 percent), and in those using languages in the “other” category (33 percent); they are lower in households using Indo-European languages other than Spanish (17 percent), and in households using Asian or Pacific Island languages (13 percent). (Figure 3)

Children in poorer families are more likely to speak English less than very well. In 2013, 20 percent of DLL children in poor families (that is, those with incomes at or below the federal poverty level) spoke English less than very well, compared with 16 percent of DLL children in low-income families (those with incomes less than twice the federal poverty level), and ten percent of DLL children in non-poor families. (Appendix 3)

Differences by Family Structure

In 2013, children living in households where a language other than English is spoken were somewhat more likely to live with two parents than were children whose only language is English (64 and 61 percent, respectively). Children whose home language was in the non-Spanish Indo-European, or Asian and Pacific Island groups were most likely to live with two parents (79 percent, each), followed by those in homes using “other” languages (71 percent), English-only (61 percent), and Spanish (57 percent). (Appendix 2)

Differences by Academic Achievement

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) provides the only representative estimates of students’ academic achievement that are comparable over time and across states. Among the NAEP data are estimates of proficiency in reading and math, at fourth and eighth grades.

The NAEP assessments are not designed specifically with ELL students in mind, and thus may not accurately reflect ELL students’ abilities. School districts are permitted to provide a number of testing accommodations for ELL students, but (as of 2013) only about half of tested ELLs received these.[12] Still, NAEP data provide the most consistent benchmark to examine students’ progress over time. In turn, students’ progress reflects, in part, the capacity of schools to meet the educational needs of all enrolled children.

127_fig4In reading at fourth grade, the proportion of ELL students achieving at the Basic level or above[13] has increased from 18 percent in 2000, to 31 percent in 2013. (Figure 4) In math at eighth grade, 20 percent of ELLs were at the Basic level or above[14] in 2000, compared with 30 percent in 2013. (Figure 5) In 2013, former ELL students (those who received ELL services within the past two years) were not statistically different from non-ELL students on this reading measure, and, on the math measure, performed significantly better than current ELL students, but less well than non-ELL students. (Figure 4 & Figure 5)

127_fig5The families of DLLs are more likely to be poor than those of non-DLLs, which may account for some of their lagging achievement, but DLLs also disproportionately attend public schools that have low test scores; ones that are segregated with respect to race, geography, and proportion of DLLs.[15] Other features of DLLs’ experience may also hamper their academic achievement. Limited English proficiency is associated with limited access to health and mental health care, and other social services.[16] In addition to learning two languages, DLLs also may have to adapt to two different sets of cultural expectations.[17] Pressure to speak English, along with discrimination and stigma, can lead to stress for DLLs.[18] Thus, multiple factors may contribute to DLLs’ lagging academic outcomes compared with monolingual students.

State and Local Estimates

State and local estimates on the number of children, ages five to 17, by language spoken at home and English-speaking ability, are available from American FactFinder (tables B16004 and C16004).

International Estimates

None available.

National Goals

None.

What Works to Make Progress on This Indicator

There are few rigorous evaluations of specific interventions to assist the development of DLLs; and, given the diversity of this group, it is difficult to provide more than a summary of best practices. Research finds that the best way to promote dual language learning, and to strengthen other aspects of the well-being of DLLs, is to support children’s progress in the use of both English and their first language.[19]

Because language and culture are closely interrelated, children who maintain fluency in their first language are more likely to develop a self-concept that incorporates a positive identification with their heritage.[20] When children lose facility with their home language, it can disrupt family communication, interfere with relationships, end the transmission of intergenerational wisdom, and harm the child’s self-concept.[21] DLLs benefit from early exposure to high-quality conversation in each language, and from continued contextual support for speaking both languages.[22] Young DLLs need additional scaffolds and supports in lessons, because they are simultaneously learning the new language and the new content.[23],[24]

In the U.S., schools and other child-serving institutions can be challenged by a need to respond to DLLs who may represent numerous non-English languages. In some school districts, it may not be feasible to have instructional materials or assessments in all home languages represented by students. However, academic and other assessments conducted in English should take account of the capacities of DLLs, who may not yet have the specialized vocabulary assumed by these assessments, or familiarity with other conventions of test-taking in English. One recommended strategy, where feasible, is “conceptual scoring,” where comparable items are developed in both languages, and the child may provide a response in either language.[25]

Programs that improve the school readiness of DLLs provide responsive language interactions in both English and the child’s home language, opportunities for children to practice new skills and vocabulary, frequent and appropriate assessment to guide individualized instruction, and parental engagement.[26]Teachers of young DLL children need to have specific competencies related to the development of language and literacy, but also the knowledge and skills to promote DLL children’s social-emotional development.[27]

Related Indicators

Definition

Data for this indicator are taken from a survey, with English and Spanish versions, that is mailed to households, with follow-ups by phone and in person. Prior to 2007, the survey was offered in English only. With the survey, information is also given on how to complete the survey by telephone in English, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Korean, or Vietnamese. Follow-up may also include an in-person survey with an interpreter. More information on how the American Community Survey strives to be inclusive of people who do not speak English is available here.

As used here, a dual language learner (DLL) is a child living in a household where at least one person older than five years speaks a non-English language. The household language was recorded as the language spoken by the first non-English speaker on the following list: householder, spouse, parent, sibling, child, grandchild, other relative, stepchild, unmarried partner, housemate, and other. Thus, some children designated as DLLs may speak only English, particularly if the non-English-speaking household member is a non-relative. A list of languages included in the various categories is available here (pages 139-140).

Survey respondents were also asked whether children, ages five years and older, who spoke a language other than English at home, spoke English “very well”, “well”, “not well”, or “not at all.” Children who spoke only English at home were included with those who spoke English very well.

Data Source

Child Trends original analysis of the 1-year 2004-2013 American Community Survey Public Microdata Sample (ACS PUMS).

Raw Data Source

American Community Survey

http://www.census.gov/acs/www/

 

2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Number of Children (millions)
English Only 52.6 51.8 51.8 51.7 51.5 51.3 50.6 50.2 49.7 49.9
All Languages other than English2 20.3 21.4 21.8 21.9 22.2 22.9 23.3 23.4 23.7 23.4
Spanish 13.5 14.3 14.7 14.8 14.9 15.5 15.6 15.7 15.8 15.7
Other Indo-European 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.6 3.6 3.7 3.7 3.7 3.6
Asian and Pacific Island 2.4 2.5 2.5 2.6 2.5 2.8 2.8 2.8 2.9 2.9
Other 0.9 1.0 1.1 1.1 1.1 1.1 1.2 1.2 1.3 1.3
Percent of Children
English Only 72.2 70.8 70.4 70.3 69.9 69.1 68.5 68.2 67.7 68.0
All Languages other than English2 27.8 29.2 29.6 29.7 30.1 30.9 31.5 31.8 32.3 32.0
Spanish 18.5 19.6 20.0 20.1 20.3 20.9 21.1 21.3 21.6 21.4
Other Indo-European 4.8 4.8 4.8 4.7 4.9 4.8 5.0 5.0 5.1 4.9
Asian and Pacific Island 3.3 3.4 3.4 3.5 3.4 3.7 3.8 3.9 4.0 3.9
Other 1.2 1.4 1.4 1.4 1.5 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.7 1.7
1 Children in non-English households live with at least one person (relative or non-relative) who speaks a language other than English; such children may speak English only.

2 Languages in the “Other Indo-European” category include most European languages (such as German and Russian), as well as languages from India, such as Hindi. Persian and Urdu are also included in this category. Languages in the “Asian and Pacific Island” category include the languages of East Asia (such as Chinese and Korean), as well as Pacific Island languages such as Tagalog and Hawaiian. Turkish is also included in this category. Other languages include American Indian and African languages, Hungarian, Arabic, Hebrew, and Finnish.

Source: Child Trends original analysis of the 1-year American Community Survey Public Microdata Sample (ACS PUMS)

 

Appendix 2 – Of Children Ages Birth to 17, Percentage with Selected Demographic Characteristics, by Household Language1: 2004-2013

2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
English Only
Poverty Status2
Poor 16.2 16.1 16.0 15.7 15.8 17.2 18.6 19.1 19.3 18.9
Low-Income 18.9 18.6 18.4 18.4 18.6 19.2 19.7 19.8 19.8 19.4
Not Poor 63.3 63.7 64.1 64.5 64.4 62.3 60.3 59.8 59.5 60.2
Unknown 1.6 1.5 1.5 1.4 1.3 1.4 1.3 1.3 1.3 1.5
Family Structure2
Two Parents 63.6 63.5 62.9 62.9 63.1 62.3 61.6 60.9 60.7 60.7
Mother Only 24.8 24.7 24.9 25.1 25.4 26.6 27.1 27.5 27.4 27.3
Father Only 5.7 5.8 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.4 6.6 7.0 7.1 7.1
No Parents 5.9 6.0 6.0 5.7 5.1 4.6 4.7 4.6 4.8 4.9
Non-English
Poverty Status2
Poor 23.1 23.8 22.7 22.2 23.0 25.1 26.7 28.3 28.3 27.8
Low-Income 27.5 27.2 27.5 27.2 26.9 27.0 27.6 27.4 26.8 27.6
Not Poor 48.0 47.5 48.3 49.3 49.1 46.8 44.6 43.2 43.9 43.4
Unknown 1.4 1.5 1.4 1.3 1.1 1.2 1.1 1.1 1.0 1.2
Family Structure3
Two Parents 68.0 66.2 66.8 66.9 66.7 66.0 64.9 64.4 64.3 64.1
Mother Only 20.0 20.5 20.4 20.7 21.1 22.8 23.5 24.3 24.3 24.2
Father Only 6.2 6.8 7.0 6.8 7.2 7.0 7.2 7.2 7.4 7.5
No Parents 5.8 6.5 5.9 5.6 4.9 4.2 4.3 4.1 4.0 4.3
2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Spanish
Poverty Status2
Poor 27.4 27.8 26.5 26.2 27.3 29.9 31.6 33.6 33.4 32.7
Low-Income 31.5 31.0 31.5 31.1 30.9 31.0 31.2 30.9 30.4 31.3
Not Poor 39.5 39.3 40.3 41.2 40.5 37.7 35.8 34.3 35.1 34.7
Unknown 1.6 1.9 1.7 1.5 1.3 1.4 1.4 1.3 1.2 1.3
Family Structure3
Two Parents 62.6 61.0 61.1 61.4 61.0 59.8 58.5 57.9 57.8 57.4
Mother Only 23.9 23.9 24.0 24.2 25.0 27.2 28.2 29.0 29.1 28.9
Father Only 6.9 7.6 8.1 7.9 8.5 8.2 8.5 8.4 8.7 9.0
No Parents 6.6 7.5 6.8 6.4 5.6 4.7 4.8 4.6 4.4 4.7
Other Indo-European Languages
Poverty Status2
Poor 13.7 14.5 13.2 12.3 12.9 14.3 15.3 16.4 16.3 16.6
Low-Income 18.5 18.5 18.8 18.9 17.9 18.1 20.1 19.9 19.3 20.2
Not Poor 66.8 66.0 67.2 67.9 68.7 66.9 64.0 63.1 63.6 62.6
Unknown 1.1 0.9 0.9 0.8 0.6 0.7 0.6 0.6 0.7 0.6
Family Structure3
Two Parents 79.8 77.8 79.4 79.2 79.8 80.1 79.9 78.7 79.4 78.8
Mother Only 12.2 13.6 12.5 12.9 13.0 13.0 13.3 14.3 13.5 14.4
Father Only 4.1 4.5 4.2 4.1 4.3 4.3 4.1 4.2 4.4 4.0
No Parents 3.9 4.1 3.8 3.8 2.9 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.7 2.8
2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Asian and Pacific Island Languages
Poverty Status2
Poor 12.8 12.8 11.9 11.9 11.0 12.2 12.7 13.5 14.7 13.1
Low-Income 19.4 18.9 18.1 17.3 17.6 17.4 18.9 19.3 18.0 18.6
Not Poor 67.1 67.5 69.2 70.1 70.8 69.7 67.7 66.7 66.7 67.3
Unknown 0.7 0.8 0.8 0.7 0.6 0.7 0.7 0.6 0.6 0.9
Family Structure3
Two Parents 80.2 78.2 79.7 79.1 79.7 80.1 79.0 79.1 78.5 79.4
Mother Only 10.2 11.8 11.1 12.5 11.5 12.2 12.7 13.3 13.6 12.6
Father Only 5.0 5.3 4.8 4.5 4.9 4.6 4.8 4.5 4.7 4.3
No Parents 4.6 4.7 4.3 3.8 3.9 3.1 3.5 3.1 3.2 3.7
Other Languages
Poverty Status2
Poor 23.5 26.4 27.7 24.1 24.4 25.3 30.3 31.4 31.4 32.7
Low-Income 24.2 23.7 24.3 25.1 23.8 22.9 24.0 24.2 24.1 23.9
Not Poor 51.3 49.0 47.3 50.2 51.1 50.8 45.1 44.0 43.8 42.6
Unknown 1.0 0.9 0.8 0.7 0.7 0.9 0.5 0.5 0.6 0.8
Family Structure3
Two Parents 71.7 70.1 72.2 72.8 72.2 72.5 69.7 70.7 69.9 71.1
Mother Only 16.2 17.4 18.2 16.8 17.8 17.8 20.1 19.5 20.2 19.5
Father Only 6.8 7.0 5.5 5.9 5.8 6.0 6.5 5.9 6.1 5.8
No Parents 5.3 5.5 4.2 4.5 4.3 3.7 3.7 3.8 3.7 3.6
1 Children in non-English households live with at least one person (relative or non-relative) who speaks a language other than English; such children may speak English only.

2 Poor is defined as having a family income below the federal poverty level. Low-income is defined as having a family income between 100 and 199 percent of the federal poverty level. Not poor is defined as having a family income at 200 percent of the federal poverty level or more.

3 If a second parent was an unmarried partner of someone who was not the householder, they are not counted as a parent.

Source: Child Trends original analysis of the 1-year American Community Survey Public Microdata Sample (ACS PUMS).

 

Appendix 3 – Number of Children, Ages 5-17, who Speak English less than “Very Well,” by Household Language1, and Share among all Children in Non-English Households, by Age Group and Family Income: 2004-2013

2004  2005  2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Number of Children who Speak English Less than “Very Well” 2,776,259  2,833,831  2,747,277 2,724,201 2,662,817 2,643,899 2,702,763 2,577,659 2,470,236 2,443,807
Household Language
Spanish 2,066,692  2,120,541  2,059,862 2,042,708 1,982,126 1,939,020 1,991,953 1,860,763 1,743,344 1,736,398
Other Indo-European 358,036  312,277  280,907 290,861 282,365 283,509 285,876 290,708 295,072 293,203
Asian and Pacific Island 303,837  328,177  328,725 318,948 310,194 329,952 328,402 336,930 335,747 331,610
Other 47,694  72,836  77,783 71,684 88,132 91,418 96,532 89,258 96,073 82,596
Percent of Children who Speak English Less than “Very Well”
All Non-English Only Households 19.5 18.9 18.0 17.9 17.3 16.7 16.3 15.4 14.5 14.5
Poverty Status2
Poor 28.4 27.4 26.2 26.1 26.0 25.0 23.2 22.6 20.2 20.0
Low-Income 23.1 22.6 21.3 21.7 20.5 19.4 19.0 16.7 16.4 16.3
Not Poor 13.3 12.8 12.4 12.2 11.8 10.8 10.5 10.1 9.8 9.8
Age
5 to 12 Years 21.2 20.7 19.9 19.9 19.3 18.7 18.5 17.5 16.5 16.4
13 to 17 Years 16.7 16.0 14.9 14.6 14.2 13.3 12.6 12.0 11.2 11.3
  2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Spanish 22.0 21.2 20.1 19.9 19.4 18.3 17.9 16.7 15.3 15.4
Poverty Status2
Poor 29.5 28.2 26.9 26.6 26.7 25.0 23.3 22.5 19.9 19.4
Low-Income 24.6 23.9 22.7 22.8 21.7 20.3 19.8 17.2 16.4 16.4
Not Poor 14.8 14.6 13.9 13.8 13.1 11.6 11.7 10.9 10.2 10.6
Age
5 to 12 Years 24.0 23.4 22.4 22.4 21.8 20.7 20.8 19.2 17.7 17.7
13 to 17 Years 18.6 17.6 16.4 15.9 15.5 14.2 13.2 12.3 11.3 11.4
Other Indo-European Languages 14.2 12.3 11.2 11.7 10.9 11.2 10.8 11.0 11.1 11.5
Poverty Status2
Poor 24.9 23.0 21.3 21.6 20.7 21.4 20.6 20.9 21.4 21.7
Low-Income 19.8 16.4 14.1 16.2 13.9 14.8 13.9 13.0 13.6 15.0
Not Poor 10.5 8.9 8.4 8.8 8.3 7.9 7.6 7.7 7.8 7.6
Age
5 to 12 Years 14.9 12.7 11.5 12.4 11.7 12.1 11.5 11.8 12.2 12.6
13 to 17 Years 13.0 11.7 10.6 10.6 9.8 9.8 9.7 9.7 9.3 9.6
2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Asian and Pacific Island Languages 17.7 18.4 18.1 17.6 17.4 17.1 16.1 16.5 16.0 15.7
Poverty Status2
Poor 30.1 30.1 31.5 33.9 31.9 31.6 29.2 29.9 27.0 29.8
Low-Income 20.7 25.5 23.6 23.8 23.4 21.8 21.1 21.2 22.3 22.2
Not Poor 14.1 14.0 14.2 13.0 13.5 13.2 11.9 12.1 11.6 11.1
Age
5 to 12 Years 19.2 20.1 20.5 19.2 19.2 18.9 17.7 17.7 17.3 16.9
13 to 17 Years 15.3 15.9 14.5 15.0 14.5 14.1 13.6 14.5 13.9 13.8
Other Languages 8.0 10.7 11.0 10.1 11.5 12.1 11.9 10.6 10.9 9.4
Poverty Status2
Poor 13.0 20.0 18.0 16.2 19.7 23.5 19.7 19.0 15.6 15.0
Low-Income 7.5 11.2 11.7 12.2 11.8 9.9 13.4 9.7 12.0 7.7
Not Poor 6.2 5.8 7.0 6.5 7.7 7.7 6.5 5.4 7.1 6.2
Age
5 to 12 Years 8.4 11.1 11.7 11.1 12.3 12.7 12.5 11.2 11.4 9.8
13 to 17 Years 7.2 10.0 9.9 8.5 10.2 11.0 11.0 9.4 9.8 8.6
1 Not all children living in household that are not English only actually speak a language other than English, they only live with at least one person (relative or non-relative) who does.

2 Poor is defined as having a family income below the federal poverty level. Low-income is defined as having a family income between 100 and 199 percent of the federal poverty level. Not poor is defined as having a family income at 200 percent of the federal poverty level or more.

Source: Child Trends original analysis of the 1-year American Community Survey Public Microdata Sample (ACS PUMS).

 

Endnotes


[a]The Department defines English language learners as students served in programs of language assistance, such as English as a second language, high-intensity language training, and bilingual education.


[1] McCabe, A., Bornstein, M. H., Guerra,

[1]McCabe, A., Bornstein, M. H., Guerra, A. W., et al. (2013). Multilingual children: Beyond myths and toward best practices. Social Policy Report, 27(4), 1-21.

[2]Espinosa, L. M. (2013). PreK-3rd: Challenging common myths about dual language learners. New York: Foundation for Child Development.

[3]Bank Street College. (undated). The benefits of being bilingual. Retrieved from http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/tta-system/cultural-linguistic/docs/benefits-of-being-bilingual.pdf

[4]Castro, D. C., García, E. E., & Markos, A. M. (2013). Dual language learners: Research informing policy. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Center. McCabe, A., et al. Op. cit. Halle, T. G., Whittaker, J. V., Zepeda, M., et al. (in press). The social-emotional development of dual language learners: Looking back at existing research and moving forward with purpose. Early Childhood Research Quarterly.

[5]McCabe, A., et al. Op. cit.

[6]Halle, T. G., et al. Op. cit..

[7]Skinner, C., Wight, V. R., Aratani, Y., Cooper, J. L., & Thampi, K. (2010). English language proficiency, family economic security, and child development. New York: National Center for Children in Poverty.

[8]Castro, D. C., et al. Op. cit.

[9]Center for Public Education. (2007). What research says about English language learners: At a glance. Retrieved from http://www.centerforpubliceducation.org/Main-Menu/Instruction/What-research-says-about-English-language-learners-At-a-glance

[10]Halle, T.G., Hair, E.C., McNamara, M., Wandner, L., & Chien, N. (2012). Predictors and outcomes of early vs. later English language proficiency among English language learners in the ECLS-K. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 27(1), 1-20.

[11]U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD), “Local Education Agency (School District) Universe Survey”, 2011-12 v.1a; “State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey”, 2011-12 v.1a.

[12]The U.S. Department of Education’s list of accommodations includes extended testing time, small-group or one-on-one testing, and test directions (and, for math, test items) read aloud in Spanish. National Center for Education Statistics. (2013). NAEP accommodations increase inclusiveness. Retrieved from http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/about/accom_table.aspx

[13]The National Assessment Governing Board for the NAEP defines the Basic level as follows:

“Fourth-grade students performing at the Basic level should be able to locate relevant information, make simple inferences, and use their understanding of the text to identify details that support a given interpretation or conclusion. Students should be able to interpret the meaning of a word as it is used in the text.

“When reading literary texts such as fiction, poetry, and literary nonfiction, fourth-grade students performing at the Basic level should be able to make simple inferences about characters, events, plot, and setting. They should be able to identify a problem in a story and relevant information that supports an interpretation of a text.

“When reading informational texts such as articles and excerpts from books, fourth-grade students performing at the Basic level should be able to identify the main purpose and an explicitly stated main idea, as well as gather information from various parts of a text to provide supporting information.”

National Assessment Governing Board. (2012). Reading framework for the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education.

[14]The National Assessment Governing Board for the NAEP defines the Basic level as follows:

“Eighth-grade students performing at the Basic level should exhibit evidence of conceptual and procedural understanding in the five NAEP content areas. This level of performance signifies an understanding of arithmetic operations—including estimation—on whole numbers, decimals, fractions, and percents.

“Eighth-graders performing at the Basic level should complete problems correctly with the help of structural prompts such as diagrams, charts, and graphs. They should be able to solve problems in all NAEP content areas through the appropriate selection and use of strategies and technological tools—including calculators, computers, and geometric shapes. Students at this level also should be able to use fundamental algebraic and informal geometric concepts in problem solving.

“As they approach the Proficient level, students at the Basic level should be able to determine which of the available data are necessary and sufficient for correct solutions and use them in problem solving. However, these eighth-graders show limited skill in communicating mathematically.”

National Assessment Governing Board. (2012). Mathematics framework for the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education.

[15]Fry, R. (2008). The role of schools in the English language learner achievement gap. Washington, DC: Pew Hispanic Center.

[16]Ibid.

[17]Halle, T. G., et al. Op. cit.

[18]Winsler, A., Burchinal, M. R., Tien, H-C., et al. (2014). Early development among dual language learners: The roles of language use at home, maternal immigration, country of origin, and socio-demographic variables. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 29, 750-764.

[19]Winsler, A., et al. Op. cit.

[20]Espinosa, L. M. (2013). Early education for dual language learners: Promoting school readiness and early school success. Washington, DC: Migration Policy Institute. Halle, T. G., et al. Op. cit.

[21]Office of Head Start. (2008). Dual language learning: What does it take? Washington, DC: Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

[22]McCabe, A., et al. Op. cit.

[23]Skinner, C., et al. Op. cit.

[24]August, D., Artzi, L., Haynes, E. F., & Corwin, L. (2012). Developing oral proficiency in dual language learners—The Vocabulary Improvement and Oral Language Enrichment and Literacy through Stories (VIOLETS) program. AccELLerate! [National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition], 4(2), 2-4.

[25]Pen͂a, E. D. & Halle, T. G. (2011). Assessing preschool dual language learners: Traveling a multiforked road. Child Development Perspectives, 5(1), 28-32. Skinner, C., et al. Op. cit.

[26]Ibid.

[27]Lopez, A. & Zepeda, M. (2012). Dual language learner teacher competencies (DLLTC) report. Alliance for a Better Community. Retrieved from http://afabc.org/getattachment/dc29dace-6bf4-4216-9f1d-5eab2d975bd1/DLLTC-Report.aspx

 

Suggested Citation:

Child Trends Databank. (2014). Dual Language Learners. Available at: https://www.childtrends.org/?indicators=dual-language-learners

 

Last updated: November 2014

 

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