Developing Literacy Skills Among Students with Disabilities in a Dual Language Immersion Program

Developing Literacy Skills Among Students with Disabilities in a Dual Language Immersion Program

First Author: Michelle N Ramos -- University of California, Irvine
Additional authors/chairs: 
Penelope Collins; Elizabeth D Peña
Keywords: Developmental Disabilities, Dual Language Immersion, Literacy
Abstract / Summary: 

Purpose: Although extensive research has demonstrated that dual language immersion programs can close the achievement gap for English language learners (ELLs; e.g., Collier & Thomas, 2017), the language and literacy outcomes for ELL students with disabilities enrolled in these programs have received little attention (Kay-Raining Bird et al. 2016). Too often, ELL students showing oral language or reading difficulties are encouraged to enroll in monolingual English programs. The current study examines literacy development in both English and in Spanish for students with disabilities and their typically developing peers in elementary school.

Method: School records for two cohorts of students attending a Spanish-English dual language immersion charter school in California were used to obtain both demographic and academic data. Disability status was based on eligibility to receive special education services. Control variables obtained at kindergarten entry included English proficiency (California English Language Development Test scores) and Spanish proficiency (Student Oral Language Observation Matrix scores), home language use (e.g., language dominance), and socioeconomic status. Student literacy outcomes were obtained for 3rd, 4th and 5th grades in English (SBAC; Smarter Balanced Assessment in English Language Arts) and in Spanish (CSA; California Spanish Assessment). Literacy trajectories were estimated in English and in Spanish for grades 3 to 5 using growth curve modeling for students with and without disabilities.

Results: Analyses are ongoing.

Conclusions: Findings contribute to our understanding of how students with disabilities perform in dual language immersion programs, which also serves to inform policies for ensuring equitable access to effective instruction.