A Study to Identify Program Standards, Goals, Objectives and Projects in Existing High School Foreign Language Immersion Programs in the United States
De Lorenzo, William E.
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This study sought to identify Program Standards, Goals, Objectives and Projects in all high school immersion programs in the United States (U.S.) and to look for common standards and similar features in identifying emergent models, guidelines, and objectives. The study focused on 20 High School Immersion Programs identified by the Center for Applied Linguistics. It was the official list of schools, identified in its most recent survey of immersion programs in the U.S. (1997). There were only two studies on high school immersion programs reported in the most comprehensive description of immersion schools in the U.S. (Fortune and Jorstad, 1996); however, since that time, many high schools have established immersion programs. At this time, these programs do not have the support of national guidelines or standards for secondary immersion programs. Immersion planners develop their own objectives and do not have research studies to cite when asked by administrators if this were an effective immersion program. This research study identified 15 experts in the field of immersion education representing National Resource Centers, high school immersion programs authors of immersion articles, and researchers on immersion issues. They were interviewed on major topics, such as, standards, guidelines, objectives, and special features that should be present in all models for immersion high schools. The experts identified characteristics and features that could help create guidelines for high school immersion programs. Concurrently, as the experts were interviewed, a questionnaire was sent to the 20 high schools identified as the population for the study. The first part of the questionnaire included statements about standards, goals, and objectives; the second part sought to find commonalities in the high school program on a variety of topics; the third part identified instructional practices and asked participants to respond using a Likert Scale. The findings were reported in a qualitative manner with quantifiable representations. Descriptive statistics were identified: frequency counts, percents, means, median, mode, standard deviation, standard errors, and variances. In many instances, content analyses were used to interpret the data. Commonalities were discovered among goals, content, course offerings, and instructional practices. Implications of the data were presented as well as recommendations for future study.