Nov 9, 2010 6:36 PM by Melissa Hawkes
In Lafayette Parish--students can learn French, Spanish and even Mandarin as young as age four. Lead immersion teacher, Nicole Boudreaux, said immersion programs produce higher test scores for students of all ages.
Boudreaux said, "it reflects the education and the instruction they received in French and in another language working together."
In 4th grade, students take the Leap Test which is the first real measure of how immersion students compare to their non-immersion counterparts.
In the Spring of last year, on the English/ Language Arts test, 65 percent of immersion students were mastery and advance.
In non-immersion only 32 percent of 4th graders scored mastery or advanced. As for the Math Leap Test, 47 percent of students in immersion scored mastery or advanced--compared to 23 percent of students in regular courses . These same types of test results carry on through middle school and high school.
"Comparing the immersion group with their peers, they were easily 10 percent higher points above average, " Boudreaux said. "We do have wonderful results, people are convinced we take the best students-- no that is not true."
She said students' performance isn't linked to social economic status either.
"It's not an issue of money, it's an issue of how much interest the parent takes in a child's education," Boudreaux explained.
She said parents have to be convinced they want their child to be bilingual if they want them to succeed in immersion.
"If you are doing it to put your child in a certain school or to look good when you are talking to your friends, saying my child is in immersion, then no that is not going to work," Boudreaux said.