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Academic Achievement Through FLES: A Case for Promoting Greater Access to Foreign Language Study Among Young Learners



The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 established foreign languages as a core curricular content area; however, instructional emphasis continues to be placed on curricular areas that factor into state educational accountability programs. The present study explored whether foreign language study of first-year Grade 3 foreign language students who continued their foreign language study through Grade 5 in Louisiana public schools contributed to their academic achievement in curricular areas tested on the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS) and the Louisiana Educational Assessment Program for the 21st Century (LEAP 21) test. Notable findings emerged. First, foreign language (FL) students significantly outperformed their non-FL peers on every test (English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies) of the Grade 4 LEAP 21. Second, the present research suggested that regardless of the test, whether the Grade 4 criterion-referenced LEAP 21 or the Grade 5 norm-referenced ITBS, at each grade level FL students significantly outperformed their non-FL counterparts on language achievement tests.