A comparative analysis of the development of language skills and self-concept of limited English proficient students in two middle school environments

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

First Committee Member

E. John Kleinert - Committee Chair


The primary purpose of this study was to examine the impact of two classroom structures on the development of English proficiency and self-concept of students at the middle school level. A comparison study was undertaken in an effort to determine which of the two environments best provides the language minority student an equal opportunity for effective participation in public education while simultaneously rectifying his language deficiency.Thirty-five entry level limited English proficient (LEP) middle school students of Hispanic ethnicity were randomly assigned to a self-contained or a departmentalized limited English proficient classroom environment. Seven teachers and two teacher aides provided their instruction in a program of English for Speakers of other Languages, sheltered from the mainstream. The subjects' English proficiency and self-concept were measured at the onset of the study and re-measured after six months of instruction. Gain scores were statistically compared. Surveys and interviews of subjects and staff members as well as weekly classroom and daily hallway observations provided further insights into the effects of instructional environment.Statistical significance at the.01 level of confidence was evidenced in the comparison of gain scores in English proficiency of LEP students receiving instruction in departmentalized classrooms (X = 62.82) with those in self-contained classrooms (X = 28.83). No statistically significant difference in the development of self-concept was found in either classroom environment. An analysis of the frequency with which English was spoken in both academic and social contexts in classrooms and hallways provided insight into variables not directly investigated but possibly affecting this study. Students in departmentalized classrooms engaged in verbal interaction employing the use of the secondary language in both academic and social interaction more frequently than did those in the self-contained environment.


Education, Bilingual and Multicultural; Education, Special

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