|dc.description.abstract||The steady influx of English Language Learners (ELLs) into today’s public school system has led to a myriad of issues concerning bilingual students’ academic performance. Investigating academic performance disparities should examine the reasons why some bilingual students, who are academically successful while they are in a bilingual program, do not perform as well after transitioning into all-English instructional settings when the majority of their peers do.
Two research questions addressed the following: (1) determining reasons why students perform well academically while enrolled in bilingual programs but experience performance dips after transitioning into an all-English classroom, and (2) how elementary bilingual and/or ESL teachers' practices, attitudes, knowledge and beliefs regarding English Language Learners relate to their students’ later success in all-English settings.
Data were collected through a mix-methods approach. Quantitative data were obtained through a 43-item Likert-scale survey instrument previously developed and validated, supplemented with qualitative, structured, open-ended interviews. The research questions were analyzed using statistical analyses of the survey data using SPSS 17.00 software and qualitative data analysis of the focus groups. Data analysis for survey items was conducted using three separate t-tests to examine differences between two groups of teachers. Demographic variables were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Qualitative data was recorded, transcribed and analyzed into common and overarching themes.
Qualitative analysis results show that participants believe the main reasons why students have low academic achievement after transition is related to low proficiency in the area of English as a second language; lack of formal English as a second language instruction, especially in the areas of vocabulary and comprehension; inadequate implementation of the bilingual program model, and students’ early exit. Finally, a previously validated survey instrument was used to explore constructs. The results show no statistically significant difference across teachers’ knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs toward ELLs.||