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Research & Publications

Learner Performance in Mandarin Immersion and High School World Language Program.

Xiaoqiu Xu, Amado M. Padilla, Duarte M. Silva


Abstract: This study compared the Mandarin performance of elementary immersion program students and high school world language program students in the same school district. A cross-sectional design was employed to gather information on Mandarin proficiency of fourth and fifth graders and Level 4 and Level 5 (AP Chinese) high school students who took the Mandarin Standards-Based Measurement of Proficiency assessment at the end of the school year. Results indicated that immersion students slightly out- performed the comparison high school group in reading but lagged slightly behind in writing and speaking skills, for which assessment tasks required higher levels of cognitive awareness. Findings also showed that while only a few nonheritage speakers in the high school world language program continued to Level 5 (AP), most nonheritage speakers remained in the immersion program for the full duration and performed as well, or nearly as well, as the heritage speakers when exiting the program. Further studies are needed, but the findings provide a strong rationale for the role of Mandarin immersion programs in assisting students to develop higher levels of linguistic proficiency in Mandarin. 

A High School Intensive Summer Mandarin Course: Program Model and Learner Outcomes

Xiaoqiu Xu, Amado M. Padilla, Duarte Silva, Norman Masuda

Winter 2012

Abstract: This article describes a STARTALK intensive summer high school Mandarin language and culture program that was conducted for three summers. Participants across the three years included 40 Mandarin Level II and 53 Mandarin Level III high school students. Quantitative and qualitative data are presented to show the effectiveness of the program. Students’ language proficiency scores showed significant improvement between pre‐ and posttests for listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Interview and observational data are also discussed to show students’ improvement in all four Mandarin language skills, as well as their increased knowledge of Chinese culture. A detailed program description including program goals, curriculum, instruction, and assessment is also shared for those who are interested in replicating the program model.

Professional Development for Teachers of Mandarin: Creating Career Pathways for New Teachers

Xiaoqiu Xu, Amado M. Padilla, Duarte M. Silva, Tracy M. Steele, Margaret D. Peterson

Abstract: There is growing interest in Mandarin language instruction in American elementary and secondary schools. This interest however is not matched by the current availability of credentialed Mandarin teachers. This paper describes an intensive summer professional development program which included 29 participants involved in some way in the teaching of Mandarin (e.g., community language schools), but most of whom were not yet credentialed as teachers. Quantitative and qualitative data are presented to show how the program addressed the varying needs of participants and deepened their understanding of teaching practices such as lesson unit design and assessment strategies. Following the program all of the participants expressed an interest in pursuing a credential in teacher education that would allow them to teach in an American public school and continuing with professional development in one form or another. The program’s objectives, curriculum and performance tasks are also provided for reference.

A Year-Round Professional Development Model for World Language Educators

Tracy M. Steele, Margaret D. Peterson, Duarte M. Silva, Amado M. Padilla

Summer 2009

Abstract: The Bay Area Foreign Language Program (BAFLP), one of nine regional sites of the California Foreign Language Project, offers ongoing, year-round professional development programs for world language educators. In addition, its leadership program prepares selected educators to assume leadership positions at their school sites, building capacity for sustainable change. Demographic data from the program reveal increased opportunities for educators to strengthen their standards-based instructional practices. Findings also indicate that the leadership program is successful in terms of participant experience, allowing educators to gain leadership skills and lend their expertise back to improving the program. Aligned to the Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century, BAFLP’s model can offer guidance to school districts in crafting effective and sustainable professional development programs.

A Statewide Professional Development Program for California Foreign Language Teachers

Albert S. Lozano, Amado M. Padilla, Hyekyung Sung, Duarte M. Silva

Spring 2004

Abstract: The California Foreign Language Project (CFLP), established in 1988, is a voluntary professional development program designed to improve and expand elementary, secondary, and postsecondary foreign language teaching in California. CFLP consists of nine regional sites that work in conjunction with a central office to increase professional development for over 600 foreign language teachers annually. CFLP provides teacher participants with three major professional development services: (1) workshops provided by the regional sites, (2) partnerships with low-performing schools/districts, and (3) an annual Summer Leadership Seminar. Sites submit a portfolio at the end of each program year that allows them to demonstrate their effectiveness in meeting CFLP’s goals. Evaluation results indicate that over a three-year period, the CFLP increased opportunities for participants to strengthen academic content knowledge and develop teacher leadership skills. Results also show that participants incorporated workshop materials in their sample lesson plans and their classroom teaching.

Adapting to Changing Needs: A Teacher-led Japanese FLES Program

Ken Romeo, Margaret Dyer

Fall 2004