A Large Scale Program in French Immersion
The Ottawa Study Through Grade Three
Merrill Swain |
The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education Toronto Canada
The school performance of pupils in Grades 1-3 of the French immersion program in operation in Ottawa public schools is evaluated in comparison with that of pupils in the regular English program. By the end of Grade I immersion program pupils taught reading in French lag behind their peers in the regular program in English language skills involving English reading, but they show some ability to transfer reading skills from French to English. By the end of Grade 2, following the introduction of English Language Arts into the curriculum for 60 minutes a day, immersion pupils still lag behind their regular program peers in most English language skills considered, although their level of performance is consistent with their grade level. By the end of Grade 3, immersion pupils match regular program pupils in all English language skills tested except spelling. At each grade level pupils in the two programs perform equivalently in mathematical skills and reveal similar IQ measures. Immersion pupils are more proficient in French than pupils of corresponding or higher grade levels receiving daily instruction in French as a second language, and do adequately in comparison with native French-speaking pupils.