Bilingual And Monolingual Instruction: A Comparison Of Performance Outcomes Among College-Level Spanish-Speaking Students

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Educat.D.)


Higher Education


The primary purpose of the study was to compare bilingual (English/Spanish) and monolingual (English only) instruction. The secondary purpose was to explore the relationship between native language maintenance and student performance in a monolingual second-language setting.The sample consisted of students of four Social Environmental classes offered through the Division of Bilingual Studies at Miami-Dade Community College. Students were mostly Cubans. Subjects were initially assessed for English and Spanish proficiency. Classes were randomly divided into two groups. Subsequently, two experiments were conducted. In Experiment 1, both groups were taught the same lesson. The instructional method, however, differed for each group. Randomly, one group was taught bilingually and the other one monolingually. Both groups were then tested and compared. The experiment was replicated with a second lesson and the same students. However, the group taught bilingually before was then taught monolingually and vice versa.Experiment 1 revealed that students with low English proficiency performed significantly better when participating in bilingual rather than monolingual instruction. Experiment 2 yielded a nonsignificant difference with these students across instructional methods. Although scores were slightly higher for low English/high Spanish proficiency students when instructed bilingually rather than monolingually in both experiments, the difference was not significant. Yet another finding showed a nonsignificant difference between the two teaching methods in both experiments for students with high proficiency in both languages.Home language maintenance vis-a-vis performance in a monolingual setting was also explored. Experiment 1 did not indicate significant academic advantages for students with high proficiency in both English and Spanish over those with high English/low Spanish proficiency although scores were higher for students with high proficiency in both languages. On the other hand, significant academic advantages were derived by Experiment 2 students with high proficiency in both languages when compared to high English/low Spanish proficiency students. Experiment 1 substantiated significantly greater academic benefits for students with low English/high Spanish proficiency over those with low proficiency in both languages. In Experiment 2, scores were slightly higher in the low English/high Spanish group; however, the difference was not significant.


Education, Bilingual and Multicultural

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