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Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)



First Advisor

David Baral

First Committee Member

Fred Muskal

Second Committee Member

Robert R. Hopkins

Third Committee Member

Halvor Hansen

Fourth Committee Member

Harold Murai


The Problem: While middle class students can succeed in L2 immersion programs, there is growing evidence that language minority students from low socioeconomic backgrounds do better in Ll programs. Jim Cummins' linguistic interdependency hypothesis resolves this apparent paradox by proposing that middle class students enter school with cognitive academic language proficiencies (CALF), which allow them to succeed in language mismatch situations. He claims that CALF is best developed in Ll and that schools should_teach language minority students in their first language. This study attempted to test the validity of Cummins' CALF construct. It also investigated the effects of Ll and L2 instruction on CALF development.

Procedures: CALF was operationally defined as metalinguistic awareness and was measured by a test of language ambiguities. Academic achievement was measured by the CTBS. A static group comparison design was used to determine the effects of Ll and L2 instruction on the development of CALF. Data were analyzed using Pearson Product Moment Correlation Analysis and analysis of variance. First-, second-, and third-grade students whose first language was Spanish were selected for the study. Half of the students were enrolled in bilingual programs and half in English language programs. I.Q. and socioeconomic background were controlled. The effect of gender was studied.

Findings: Analysis of the data indicated some correlation between metalinguistic awareness in English and academic performance. Students from English language classrooms demonstrated a non-significant advantage in academic achievement. Bilingual classroom students showed a significant advantage in metalinguistic awareness in both languages.

Conclusions: The study supports the hypothesis that bilinguality enhances some aspects of cognitive development. It also lends some support to the use of metalinguistic awareness as a measure of CALF. The study did not show that increased metalinguistic awareness led to enhanced academic achievement. There was no evidence of negative effects from bilingual instruction on limited English proficient students.



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