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Research on FLES (Foreign Language in Elementary School) Programs

Andrade, C. et al. (1989). Two languages for all children: Expanding to low achievers and the handicapped. In K. E. Muller (Ed.), "Languages in elementary schools" (pp. 177-203). New York: The American Forum.

Describes student performance in the Cincinnati Foreign Language Magnet Program. These children score well above anticipated national norms in both reading and mathematics and higher than the average of all magnet school participants, despite the fact that they represent a broad cross-section of the Cincinnati community.

Armstrong, P.W., & Rogers, J.D. (1997). Basic skills revisited: The effects of foreign language instruction on reading, math and language arts. "Learning Languages, 2"(3), 20-31.

Presents a study that provides quantitative and qualitative evidence of the effect of foreign language education upon the basic skills of elementary students, with the hope that such evidence will provide information and assistance to parents and educators who are investigating the benefits of elementary school foreign language programs.

Bastian, T.R. (1980). "An investigation into the effects of second language learning on achievement in English." (pp. 6176-6177). DA, 40,12-A, Pt 1. Boise, ID: University of Idaho.

Graduating high school seniors with two or more years of foreign language study showed significant superiority in performance on achievement tests in English when compared with nonforeign language students.

Brega, E., & Newell, J.M. (1967). High-school performance of FLES and non-FLES students. "Modern Language Journal, 51," 408-411.

Compares performance of two groups of 11th grade students on MLA French examination (advanced form) in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. One group of students had begun French in Grade 7, the other group had also had 80 minutes per week of FLES beginning in Grade 3. FLES students outperformed non-FLES students in every area.

Campbell, W.J. (1962). "Some effects of teaching foreign language in the elementary schools." NY Hicksville Public Schools.: Dec. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 013 022)

Contrasts performance in all school subjects of FLES (20 minutes per day) and non-FLES students, all selected to have IQ of 120 or above. Data collected over 3 years suggests that FLES has a positive effect.

Cohen, A. (1974). The Culver City Spanish immersion program: The first two years. "Modern Language Journal, 58"(3), 95-103.

Demonstrates student progress in second language acquisition while maintaining par with English-speaking peers in math and other basic subjects.

Diaz, R.M. (1983). "The impact of second-language learning on the development of verbal and spatial abilities." DA, 43, 04-B, 1235. New Haven, CT: Yale University.

Supports the claim that bilingualism fosters the development of verbal and spatial abilities.

Donoghue, M.R. (1981). Recent research in FLES. "Hispania, 64," 602-604.

Cites and summarizes basic research in FLES.

Foster, K.M., & Reeves, C.K. (1989). FLES improves cognitive skills. "FLES News, 2"(3), 4.

Describes the results of 1985 asessment of positive effects of Louisiana elementary school foreign language program upon basic skills acquisition.

Garfinkel, A. & Tabor, K.E. (1991). Elementary school foreign languages and English reading achievement: A new view of the relationship. "Foreign Language Annals, 24," 375-382.

Elementary school students of average academic ability showed improved reading achievement after participation in a voluntary before- and after-school FLES program.

Horstmann, C.C. (1980). The effect of instruction in any of three second languages on the development of reading in English-speaking children. (p. 3840). DA, 40, 07-A.

Compared reading scores in Cincinnati program among French, German, and Spanish learners in Grade 2 and a control group. There were no deficiencies; German group showed a significant positive difference over control group.

Johnson, C.E., Flores, J.S., & Ellison, F.P. (1963). The effect of foreign language instruction on basic learning in elementary schools. "Modern Language Journal, 47," 8-11.

Performance on Iowa Test of Basic Skills was compared for fourth-graders receiving 20 minutes per day of audio-lingual Spanish instruction and similar students receiving no Spanish instruction. No significant loss in achievement in other subjects was found; the experimental group showed greater achievement in reading, vocabulary, and comprehension.

Landry, R.G. (1974). A comparison of second language learners and monolinguals on divergent thinking tasks at the elementary school level. "Modern Language Journal, 58," 10-15.

Divergent thinking ability was improved for FLES participants over non-FLES participants after 5 years of schooling, although no significant difference was found after 3 years of schooling.

Lipton, G., Rhodes, N. & Curtain, H. (Eds.). (1985). "The many faces of foreign languages in the elementary school: FLES, FLEX, and immersion." Champaign, IL: American Association of Teachers of French. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 264 727).

Describes FLEX program: 30 minutes per week, taught by volunteers in many languages, all grades. ITBS scores for participants were higher than those for nonparticipants.

Lopata, E.W. (1963). FLES and academic achievement. "French Review, 36," 499-507.

Classes of third-grade children in New York City and suburban New York schools were taught conversational French for 15 minutes daily. After 1 year they were evaluated for French skills, and their scores on the Stanford Achievement Test were compared with scores of children who had not received French instruction. All statistically significant differences were in favor of the experimental group, and seven of eight mean differences were in favor of the experimental group. Children were judged to have pronunciation and fluency in French superior to that of high school students with the same amount of instruction.

Masciantonio, R. (1977). Tangible benefits of the study of Latin: A review of research. "Foreign Language Annals, 10," 375-382.

Examines linguistic benefits of Latin in building English vocabulary and reading skills, based on eight projects.

Mavrogenes, N.A. (1979). Latin in the elementary school: A help for reading and language arts. "Phi Delta Kappan, 60," 675-77.

Cites studies in several cities in which FLES students surpassed non-FLES students in test performances in reading and language arts. Washington study includes students in Spanish and French as well as Latin.

Mayeux, A.P., & Dunlap, J.M. (1966). "French language achievement: The effect of early language instruction on subsequent achievement." University City, MO: University City School District. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 070 359).

Addresses achievement in further study of the same language in Grade 7 (20 minutes per day) after 3 years of French FLES. Marked positive difference in achievement.

Nespor, H.M. (1971). "The effect of foreign language learning on expressive productivity in native oral language." (p. 682). DA, 31 (02-A) University of California, Berkeley.

Foreign language learning in Grade 3 is shown to increase expressive oral productivity in pupils' native languages.

Peal, E., & Lambert, W.E. (1962). The Relationship of bilingualism to intelligence. "Psychological Monographs, 76"(27), 1-23.

Monolingual and bilingual French-English children, aged 10, were administered verbal and nonverbal intelligence tests and measures of attitudes toward the English and French communities. Bilinguals performed significantly better on both verbal and nonverbal intelligence tests.

Rafferty, E.A. (1986). "Second language study and basic skills in Louisiana." Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana Department of Education. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 283 360).

Third, fourth, and fifth graders studying languages showed significantly higher scores on the 1985 Basic Skills Language Arts Test than a similar group of nonparticipants. In addition, by fifth grade the math scores of language students were also higher than those of nonlanguage students.

Samuels, D.D., & Griffore, R.J. (1979). The Plattsburgh French language immersion program: Its influence on intelligence and self-esteem. "Language Learning, 29," 45-52.

Tested 6-year-olds after 1 year in French immersion with WISC and Purdue Self Concept Scale. No significant difference on Verbal IQ or PSCS; significant differences in favor of immersion students on Performance IQ, Picture Arrangement Object Assembly.

Schinke-Llano, L. (1986). "Foreign language in the elementary school: State of the art." Orlando, FL: Harcourt Brace, Jovanovich.

An examination of historical and contemporary issues surrounding FLES, emphasizing program design. Comprehensive bibliography.

Vocolo, J.M. (1967). The effects of foreign language study in the elementary school upon achievement in the same foreign language in the high school. "Modern Language Journal, 51," 463-469.

FLES students were found to have significantly better performance in listening, speaking, and writing when compared to non-FLES students at the end of an intermediate-level high school French class.

Yerxa, E. (1970). Attitude development in childhood education toward foreign people. "Journal of Education, 152"(3), 23-33.

Review of theory and research on attitude development.

(Compiled by Helena Curtain and Carol Ann Dahlberg)