Access and outcomes of children with special education needs in Early French Immersion
Elizabeth Kay-Raining Bird | Dalhousie University
Fred Genesee | McGill University
Ann Sutton | University of Ottawa
Xi Chen | University of Toronto
Joan Oracheski | Ottawa-Carleton District School Board
Stephanie Pagan | Ottawa-Carleton District School Board
Bonita Squires | Dalhousie University
Diana Burchell | University of Toronto
Tamara Sorenson Duncan | Carleton University
This study investigated access to and outcomes of Early French Immersion (EFI) for students with special education needs (SEN) attending a large school board in Canada. Data analysis was carried out on: provincially mandated achievement test scores for all Grade 3 students with SEN participating over a three-year period (n = 705) who attended either EFI or English programs; standardized French and English language and reading scores for a small subset of students (n = 20); and interviews with parents of Grade 4 students in EFI (n = 9). Results revealed lower participation but higher English academic and language performance for students with SEN in the EFI program as well as development of French language and reading skills. Interviewed parents often believed children with SEN ‘could not handle’ EFI and that withdrawal should be an option in response to learning difficulties. Implications for inclusive practices in EFI are discussed.
Keywords: French immersion, special education needs, language and literacy outcomes, access, participation, bilingualism
Published online: 09 November 2020
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