3. When do students perform at grade level on standardized achievement tests in their first and second languages? Is the time frame different for 90/10 vs. 50/50 models?

Native English speakers tend to perform at grade level in their first language once they have received formal reading instruction through that language, and their achievement is at grade level in the second language typically by third grade, if not sooner. For English language learners, scores are usually in the average range in their first language by second grade, but as a group they do not achieve at grade level in English until middle school.

Comparing the achievement of students in 90/10 and 50/50 models, Lindholm-Leary (2001) found that by Grades 7-8, English language learners and native-English-speaking students scored similarly to their peers of the same language and economic backgrounds on achievement tests in English. When achievement was measured in Spanish, students in 90/10 programs scored higher than students in 50/50 programs. Thus, more instructional time spent in Spanish positively affected achievement in Spanish and had no negative effect on achievement measured in English.