Bilingual Education Evidence

I’m often contacted for research that proves the benefits of bilingual education, so I decided to add this page to my website – anything underlined is hyperlinked to the research. There is a lot out there, but I tried to pick resources that would be accessible and useful for families, educators, and education policymakers. Please send me your feedback and suggestions for additions.

Resources about the Benefits of Being Bilingual
Research article: Bialystok, E. (2007).  Cognitive effects of bilingualism: How linguistic experience leads to cognitive change.  International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 10(3), 210-223.

This 2011 New York Times interview with Bialystok describes her work in a more accessible way than the above article. (Click here for the PDF version)

This 2016 New York Times article highlights new research showing bilingualism is associated with greater social skills. (Click here for the PDF version)

Here is a video about the cognitive benefits of bilingualism

News Articles about Bilingual Education
USA Today 2020 article with data about emergent bilinguals and the need for more bilingual education programs. More US schools teach in English and Spanish, but not enough to help Latino kids. Leer en español: Enseñan el español en las escuelas públicas, ¿pero será suficiente para ayudar a los Latinos?.

NYTimes 2015 article on the popularity of dual language bilingual programs for both English monolingual families and families of emergent bilinguals. Dual-Language Programs Are on the Rise, Even for Native English Speakers. New York Times, 10/5/15. (Click here for the PDF version)

2015 Atlantic article about dual language bilingual education The Costs of English-Only Education: A Growing Movement to Teach ELL Students in Their Native Languages. (Click here for the PDF version)

This is an op-ed written in Spanish in support of bilingual education, particularly for parents in New York: García, O. (2014). Ser bilingüe vale por dos. Op Ed, El Diario 1/29/14. (Click here for the PDF version)   

Research Syntheses that Support Bilingual Education over English-Only Instruction (some are quite short)
Goldenberg, C. & Wagner, K. (2015, Fall). Bilingual education: Reviving an American traditionAmerican Educator, Fall 2015.

Goldenberg, C. (2008, Summer). Teaching English language learners: What the research does—and does not—say. American Educator, Summer 2008, 8-44. (Click here for the full issue online).

*Rolstad, K., Mahoney, K. & Glass, G. (2005). The big picture: A meta-analysis of program effectiveness research on English language learners. Educational Policy, 19(4), 572-594. (Click here for the PDF version)

*Steele, J. L., Slater, R., Zamarro, G., Miller, T., Li, J. J., Burkhauser, S., & Bacon, M. (2017). Dual-Language Immersion Programs Raise Student Achievement in English

Empirical Research Articles that Support Bilingual Education over English-Only Instruction
*Collier, V., & Thomas, W. (2017). Validating the Power of Bilingual Schooling: Thirty-Two Years of Large-Scale, Longitudinal Research. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 37, 203-217. doi:10.1017/S0267190517000034
This paper examines data gathered over 32 years from 36 school districts in 16 U.S. states and shows that emergent bilinguals in developmental bilingual education programs outperform their peers in English-only programs,

*Steele, J., Slater, R., Zamarro, G., Miller, T., Li, J., Burkhauser, S., & Bacon, M. (2017). Effects of dual-language immersion programs on student achievement: Evidence from lottery data. American Educational Research Journal, 54(1S), 282S–306S.
This article shows positive effects of enrollment in dual language bilingual education on reading for all students (English monolinguals and English learners alike).

*Umansky, I. & Reardon. S. (2014). Reclassification patterns among Latino English learner students in bilingual, dual immersion, and English immersion classrooms. American Educational Research Journal, 51, 879-912).
This long-term study by two Stanford University researchers found that students enrolled in bilingual programs since elementary school were, by high school, more likely to be classified proficient in English compared with similar students who had been in English-only programs.

The Gentrification of Dual Language Bilingual Education: A Cautionary Note for School Leaders and Families (Especially Privileged Ones)

The Intrusion of White Families Into Bilingual Schools by Conor Williams (2017, in The Atlantic)
This article summarizes the issues.

Nice White Parents and Dual Language Education by Nelson Flores 2020.
This 2020 post in the blog the Educational Linguist is Nelson Flores’ response to the New York Times podcast, Nice White Parents (which is also one to listen to – and Episode 1 offers an example of the gentrification of dual language bilingual education). Flores offers helpful principles for white parents to consider when engaging with schools that have an existing dual language bilingual education program or want to advocate for the development of one.