UBC Theses and Dissertations
The English language skills of minority language children in French immersion programs : a follow-up investigation Cardwell, Jacqueline Ann
The purpose of this investigation was to re-evaluate the English language skills of a group of minority language children enrolled in French Immersion programs (experimental group) in order to establish whether these skills have been maintained, are better, or worse than the same skills in English children in French Immersion (English control group) or minority language children enrolled in regular English programs (minority control group). Of the original thirty children who participated in Davies' (1985) investigation, seven experimentals, seven minority controls and nine English controls were located again and able to participate in the 1989 follow-up study. English language comprehension was assessed using two standardized tests of English comprehension (the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-R, and the Token Test for Children). Similarly, English metalinguistic skills were evaluated using two standardized tests which tap metalinguistic awareness at both the lexical and structural level (the Test of Language Competence and the Word Test). Finally, English language production was evaluated based on a picture-description sample elicited from each child. It was hypothesized that the English language skills of minority language children in French Immersion would, as was the case in 1985, continue to be as good as those of the English control and minority control groups. The results confirmed this hypothesis. In addition, the results showed the experimental group to be performing significantly better than the minority control group on vocabulary comprehension and interpretation of ambiguous sentences. The experimental group also performed significantly better than the English control group on vocabulary comprehension. The English control group scored higher than the minority control group on recognition of semantic absurdities. All three groups performed similarly on the picture description task. These results confirm that minority language children are excellent candidates for French Immersion and suffer no delays in English language ability over the long term. In fact, these children display certain linguistic advances over the other groups of children in this study.