Title page for ETD etd-1103103-111054

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Taylor-Ward, Carolyn Joyce
Author's Email Address ctaylo6@lsu.edu
URN etd-1103103-111054
Title The Relationship between Elementary School Foreign Language Study in Grades Three through Five and Academic Achievement on the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS) and the Fourth-grade Louisiana Educational Assessment Program for the 21st Century (LEAP 21) Test
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Curriculum & Instruction
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Robert C. Lafayette Committee Chair
Denise Egéa-Kuenhe Committee Member
Earl Cheek Committee Member
Janice Hinson Committee Member
Joseph Ricapito Dean's Representative
  • second language learning
  • academic achievement
  • content-based foreign language teaching
  • foreign language learning
  • foreign language in the elementary schools
Date of Defense 2003-10-17
Availability unrestricted
The passage of the federal educational legislation, No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, established foreign languages as a core curricular content area. Nonetheless, educational policy makers at the state and local levels often opt to allocate greater resources and give instructional priority to content areas in which students, and ultimately the school systems themselves, are held accountable through high-stakes testing. Although foreign languages are designated as a core content area, instructional emphasis continues to be placed on curricular areas that factor into state educational accountability programs.

The present study employed a mixed-methodology design. The primary goal was to explore quantitatively whether foreign language study on the part of first-year third-grade foreign language students who continue their foreign language study through and including the fifth-grade in Louisiana public schools contributes to their academic achievement in curricular areas tested on the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS) and the Louisiana Educational Assessment Program for the 21st Century (LEAP 21) test. Concurrently, a qualitative aim, using a survey and interviews, was to examine how foreign language teachers of students in the present study perceive that they link instruction to the reinforcement of English language arts, mathematics, science and social studies content standard skills.

The findings of the present research indicate that foreign language students significantly outperformed their non-foreign language counterparts on every subtest of the LEAP 21 test and were more successful passing this test. Moreover, foreign language students significantly outperformed their non-language peers on the language portion of the fifth-grade ITBS.

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