Features of Dual Language Immersion in High Achieving Programs

Addressing a critical need for evidence-based information on the characteristics of dual language immersion programs.

In 2017, CAL was awarded a grant from the International Research & Studies program of the U.S. Department of Education to conduct a three-year study to identify successful Spanish/English dual language bilingual (DLBE) programs. Employing mixed-methods methodology, CAL researchers were tasked with analyzing state-wide longitudinal data in the two program languages and document characteristics of DLBE in high achieving programs based on case studies. By focusing on a large sample of Spanish/English DLBE programs across the state of Oregon that have consistently shown high achievement in both languages and documenting effective programmatic and instructional practices, the Features of Dual Language Immersion in High Achieving Programs project will provide a much needed basis for replication of successful programs. 

Year One project activities resulted in the systematic identification of the two Spanish/English DLBE programs in the state of Oregon that showed the most growth over three years in Spanish and English outcomes for both native Spanish speakers and native speakers of languages other than Spanish. Hierarchical Linear Modeling (HLM) was used on three years of Spanish and English reading achievement scores for 1,063 third grade DLI students to predict their average growth over time, controlling for student and program-level characteristics. Additionally, a biliteracy study of reading achievement growth was carried out by project researchers and the results published in a TESOL Quarterly special issue on equity in DLBE (Arteagoitia & Yen, 2020).

In Year Two of the project, CAL researchers began work on the two case studies to document effective instructional and programmatic characteristics associated with DLBE via classroom observations and focus group with the various stakeholders of the two DLBE programs (e.g., parents, students, teachers, school and district administrators, and community leaders). Preliminary results of the qualitative analyses were presented at La Cosecha and ACTFL 2019 conferences.

While dissemination is the focus of Years 3 and 4 of the project, dissemination efforts began early in the project with presentations on Years 1 and 2 findings at various conferences (e.g., ACTFL, AERA, NABE and La Cosecha) and the publication of the biliteracy study in the peer-reviewed TESOL Quarterly journal. Dissemination efforts will continue throughout Years 3 and 4 of the project.

 The project is led by CAL Research Scientist Igone Arteagoitia, with support from CAL staff members Yu-Chia Wu and Shu Jing Yen. Kathryn Lindholm-Leary and Soria E. Colomer serve as external evaluators.


Arteagoitia, I. & Yen, Shu Jing. (2020). Equity in representing literacy growth in dual language bilingual education for emerging bilingual learners. TESOL Quarterly, 54(3), 719-742.

Learn more about the Oregon Department of Education, Biliteracy Initiatives.

About the Project

Funder: International Research & Studies, U.S. Department of Education
October 2017 – September 2021