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Last modified: 7/18/2017 12:28:23 PM
Research and Evaluation
The Impact of the French Immersion Program on Achievement and College Readiness 

Akilah D. Swinton, Ph.D. & Berhane B. Araia, Ph.D.


Since the French Immersion program has been operating in the school district for decades, PGCPS decision-makers are interested in the impact of attending a French Immersion school.The current study focused on the impact of attending a French Immersion school at grade 3, grade 5, grade 8, and grade 11. To address the research questions, we used SY15-SY16 enrollment data to create the analytical samples and French Immersion lottery participation data across several years, starting in SY05, as a proxy for parental motivation. PARCC ELA and math data, MSA science data, and Maryland State’s College and Career Readiness (CCR) report data were used to measure the outcomes. To estimate the impacts of French Immersion experience on PARCC proficiency rate for each grade, we used the Average Treatment Effect on the Treated (ATET) model. The findings from the Grade 3, Grade 5, and Grade 8 treatment effect analysis show a consistent pattern of positive impact (measured in differentials in the percent proficient) of French Immersion enrollment across grade levels in ELA, mathematics, and science. The results demonstrate that the size of the impact progressively increased as students moved though elementary and middle school. These findings are important given that French Immersion students study mathematics and science in French through grade 8 and they do not start learning in the English language until grade 2. The findings from the Grade 11 treatment effect analysis show that high school students who had attended French Immersion program were better prepared for college and career than similar students who attended traditional elementary and middle schools in PGCPS. The findings confirmed that the impact of French Immersion sustained long after students graduated from the program.

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