Transitional Bilingual Education and Latino Student Achievement

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Layla P. Suleiman

Second Advisor

Sonia W. Soltero

Third Advisor

Rafaela Weffer


This research study examines the impact of several variables on the academic achievement of Latino students who are English language learners (ELLs) in a Chicago, public, elementary school. It is predicted that the length of time in a Transitional Bilingual Education (TBE) program will be assiciated with better academic achievement as measured by the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) reading and math scores. A significant difference is also predicted in the achievement levels in reading and mathematics between students who began their participation in the program at the age of 8 or older as compared to those who started an earlier age; and between students whose second language (L2) proficiency was greater upon entry into the TBE program compared to those whose L2 proficiency was lower at the time of entry into the TBE program. Latino students from a school that offers both general and TBE programs were selected for the study on the basis of having taken the ITBS and/or Illinois Measure of Annual Growth in English (IMAGE) tests in order to measure academic achievement. Five independent variables; 1) age of entry into the TBE program, 2.) gender, 3.) number of years of previous formal education, 4.) length of time in the TBE program, and 5.) level of second language proficiency at entry to TBE program-- were measured by the Language Proficiency Test Series (LPTS) scores as well as other archived student records. Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was used to determine the relative impact of the independent variables on academic achievement. The results of this study indicate the ELL students who participated in the TBE program for four years or more reached higher levels of reading achievement that those students who participated in TBE for three years or less. There was not a statistical difference between groups regarding math achievement. ELL students who entered the TBE program at the age of eight years or older had higher achievement levels in reading that younger ELL students. There was not a statistical difference between the two groups regarding math achievement. ELL students who recieved two to three years of home language instruction (years of formal education) before entering TBE reached higher levels of L2 proficiency than those who did not have similar years of formal education. Gender and LPT scores were not significantly related to reading achievement for this group of ELL students. In summary, the variables of length of time in TBE, four years or more; and entering TBE at eight years of age or older were significiantly and positively related to higher levels of reading for both students in TBE and those who had exited TBE.


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