Examining general education teachers' perceptions about the factors that affect the academic progress of former bilingual education students who exit into all English classes
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The purpose of this mixed methods study was to examine the general education teachers’ perceptions of factors that affect academic progress of former early-exit bilingual education students once they exit to all-English classes. The research questions guiding this study were: (1) What are the general education teachers’ perceptions of factors that affect the academic progress of former bilingual education students who have exited into all-English classes? (2) What instructional accommodations do general education teachers report using with their formerly bilingual education students? This study included data from a modified version of English-as-a-second language (ESL) Students in Mainstream Classrooms: A Survey of Teachers: and semi-structured interviews with 4th and 5th grade general education teachers. A purposeful sample of 15 general education teachers were interviewed in an attempt to provide a more in-depth understanding of the potential impact of general education teachers’ perceptions of former early-exit bilingual education academic progress once they exit into all-English classes. Data were collected through a mix-methods approach. Quantitative data were obtained through a modified 28-item Likert-scale survey instrument previously developed and validated, supplemented with qualitative, semi-structured interviews. The research questions were analyzed using statistical analyses of the survey data using SPSS and qualitative data analysis of the interviews. Demographic variables were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Qualitative data was recorded, transcribed and analyzed into common and overarching themes that general education teacher believe are the processes that provide former bilingual education students with the foundation needed to be successful in an all-English classroom: (a) benefits of bilingual education, (b) language acquisition, (c) educational support from school and home. Qualitative analysis results show that participants believe the main reasons why students have low academic achievement after transition is related to low proficiency in the area of English as a second language; lack of formal English as a second language instruction, especially in the areas of vocabulary and comprehension; inadequate implementation of the bilingual program model, and students’ early exit.