Foreign Language Education, Academic Performance, and Socioeconomic Status: A Study of California Schools

Authors

  • Hyekyung Sung,

    1. Defense Language Institute
    2. Hyekyung Sung (PhD, Stanford University) is Assistant Professor of Asian School III at the Defense Language Institute, Monterey, California
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  • Amado M. Padilla,

    1. Stanford University
    2. Amado M. Padilla (PhD, University of New Mexico) is Professor of Psychological Studies in Education and Principal Investigator of the California Foreign Language Project, School of Education, Stanford University, Stanford, California
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  • Duarte M. Silva

    1. Stanford University
    2. Duarte M. Silva (EdD, University of San Francisco) is Executive Director of the California Foreign Language Project, School of Education, Stanford University, Stanford, California
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Abstract

This study examines various features oj foreign language program offerings at 220 public high schools in California. Foreign language program features were examined in relation to the school's Academic Performance Index (API), the school's socioeconomic status (percentage of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch), and percentage of English language learners (ELLs). High API ranking high schools reported a larger percentage of students enrolled in foreign language classes, more foreign language teachers, fewer emergency-credentialed teachers, more feeder middle school foreign language programs, more study abroad and foreign exchange programs, and more technology use in foreign language teaching. However, these relationships were not found in low socioeconomic schools and schools with larger numbers of ELLs. Foreign language educators can use the findings to offer recommendations to school administrators, policymakers, and professional organizations about ways to improve the teaching oj foreign languages in secondary schools regardless of students' socioeconomic status or the growing population oj ELLs.

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