The relationship between the Utah 50/50 Dual-Language Immersion model and literacy in the Alpine, Davis, and Granite school districts in Utah: considerations for and implications of students with disabilities and limited English proficiency in fourth grade
Literacy is the pillar of our society. The students who cannot read by fourth-grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school and live in poverty (Hartmann, 2016). Despite educators’ effort to remediate literacy deficiency, according to the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 36% of all students, 14% of Students with Disabilities (SwD) and 9% of Limited English learners (LEP) were English Language Arts (ELA) proficient. In 2006, Utah created a Dual Language Immersion model (DLI) in elementary schools to promote bilingualism and biliteracy. Under this model, 50% of the classes were in English and the other 50% in a target language. The Utah state assessments, Criterion-Referenced Test (CRT) (1999-2013), and Student Achievement Growth and Excellence (SAGE) (2014-2017) presented a higher level of ELA proficiency for students in DLI programs. Therefore, the hypothesis was that DLI programs could enhance ELA proficiency non only for all but also for Students with Disabilities (SwD) and Limited English Proficient LEP students. Incidentally, there was no significant difference between SAGE and NAEP fourth-grade ELA test scores in 2015. The methodology followed a qualitative descriptive study. Five interviews were conducted and were supported by a collection of quantitative data gathered from fourthgrade SAGE ELA test scores from the website Datagateway and the USBOE. SAGE ELA test scores for All, SwD, and LEP students in DLI and non-DLI schools for years 2014 to 2017 were recorded, analyzed, and compared. The result of the analysis suggested a positive relationship between DLI programs and ELA proficiency for All but also for SwD and LEP students in DLI programs.