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In 2009, about one in four elementary schools reported teaching foreign languages.
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Strategies & Methodology

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Materials & Curricula

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Student Assessment

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Research on Immersion Programs

Barick, H.C., & Swain, M. (1975). Three-year evaluation of a large scale early grade French immersion program: The Ottawa Study. "Language Learning, 25"(1) 1-30.

Evaluation of school performance in comparison with all-English program. Confirms positive results of previous research.

Campbell, R.N., Gray, T.C., Rhodes, N.C., & Snow, M.A. (1985). Foreign language learning in the elementary schools: A comparison of three language programs. "Modern Language Journal, 69," 45-54.

Compares language skills of students in FLES, partial immersion and immersion programs, who had studied the language for 4 to 7 years.

Genesee, F. (1983). Bilingual education of majority-language children: The immersion experiments in review. "Applied Psycholinguistics, 4," 1-46.

Reviews structures and research findings pertaining to a variety of program models in the U.S. and Canada. Concludes that this approach is feasible in diverse settings for diverse school populations.

Genesee, F. (1985). Second language learning through immersion: A review of U.S. programs. "Review of Educational Research, 55"(4), 541-561.

Reviews Culver City, Montgomery County, Cincinnati, and San Diego, comparing them with Canadian immersion programs. Compares first-language development and growth in academic areas.

Genesee, F. (1986). "Learning through two languages: Studies of immersion and bilingual education." Cambridge, MA: Newbury House.

This complete review of immersion and bilingual education integrates program data, research findings, theoretical discussions, and educational implications.

Holobow, N., Genesee, F., Lambert, W., Gastright, J., & Met, M. (1987). Effectiveness of partial French immersion for children from different social class and ethnic backgrounds. "Applied Psycholinguistics, 8," 137-152.

Reports the results of a 4-year study of Cincinnati immersion programs. Researchers conclude that immersion students score comparably with students in English-only programs in all basic skills areas; working-class immersion students, both black and white, scored as well as middle-class students on measures of their listening and oral performances in French.

Makin, L. (1996). Bilingualism in early childhood education. "Learning Languages, 1"(3), 24-27.

Designed to stimulate increased dialogue between early childhood educators in the U.S. and Australia, the issues discussed are similar in both countries and much of the research impacting upon educational programs has international recognition.

Pawley, C. (1985). How bilingual are French immersion students? "Canadian Modern Language Review, 41," 865-876.

Describes and compares performance of early- and late-immersion Carleton and Ottawa students in Grades 10-12 on tests of French listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Also compares results with those of francophone students. Range is wide, but performance is very respectable.

(Compiled by Helena Curtain and Carol Ann Dahlberg)