Dual Language Education and Student Achievement
50 Pages Posted: 23 Jun 2018 Last revised: 18 Sep 2019
Date Written: March 28, 2018
Two-way dual language (DL) classrooms enroll students of two different language backgrounds and teach curriculum in both languages. I estimate the effect of attending a dual language school on student achievement using school choice lotteries from Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District, finding local average treatment effects on math and reading scores of more than 0.04 standard deviations per year for participants who were English language learners (ELLs). Attending a dual language school increased end of grade exam scores for students who were not considered ELLs by a similar magnitude. The positive effects of winning the lottery to attend a DL school are substantially larger than the effects of assignment to other magnet schools, and several peer and school characteristics are ruled out as explanations for the increased test scores. There is no statistically significant evidence that attending a dual language school changed the probability of having ELL status throughout elementary school.
Keywords: Language Immersion, Bilingual Education, English Language Learner, Magnet Schools, School Choice Lottery
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