EFI equals streaming - right? Not necessarily. However, Late Immersion does. See below:
Bloggers' note: As indicated in a previous blog entry, the Ottawa-Carleton Board of Education decided to terminate their Late French Immerision Program because they found that it caused streaming problems. It is an interesting read and we would strongly recommend that this report be read by all interested parties. Clearly it should have been read by Croll and Lee.
Additional note: unlike the Croll-Lee review, which had no reference list and cited only a handful of papers (mostly reports), the Ottawa-Carleton review actually had a reference section (4.5 pages long) containing numerous peer-reviewed publications. This suggests that they actually did the background research to develop their conclusions. This presents another question: Not only is the Croll-Lee report flawed and discredited based on their math and unsupported conclusions, but why did they not review the literature? Perhaps there is no current scientific evidence to support their approach and conclusions. Also, why didn't Croll and Lee cite the Ottawa-Carelton review? It is very pertinent to our situation - Ottawa is a bilingual environment with similar participation in French Immersion programs. Clearly, New Brunswickers deserve better.
With regard to streaming, segregation (an unfortunate term that DOE is using), and class heterogeneity there are numerous quotes from the Ottawa-Carelton review that are pertinent to Minister Lamrock's and DoE's most recent justification for terminating EFI in NB. Here are two:
- "Much of the debate within the immersion literature has focused on the appropriateness of this type of program [FI] for certain groups of students (e.g., ELLs, students withspecial needs, students in their early years of schooling). While it is acknowledgedthat early on this may have been the case, more recent research suggests that immersion programs are not elitist (particularly in EFI), and that there can, and should, be an appropriate program option for all groups of children, including those with special education needs and those for whom English is their second language."
- "Immersion programs have traditionally been viewed as being elitist. However, Dube and MacFarlane (1991) argued that while this may have been the case in the initial stages of implementation, EFI typically serves a more heterogeneous student population in terms of cognitive ability and social background. The reason for this is that parents of children in SK have little knowledge of their child's academic ability because it has not yet been formally assessed. By grade 4 or grade 7, however, parental decisions to register in MFI and/or LFI programs are based more on a child's academic ability, resulting in more homogeneous groupings than those found in the EFI program."