In an Iowa school district with a high percentage of students whose home language is Spanish, parents are offered the option of enrolling their students in a dual language track as an alternative to traditional English only instruction. Students in the program receive half their instruction in English and half in Spanish with the goal of developing both native English speaking and native Spanish speaking students who are bilingual, biliterate, and bicultural.
The district has contracted with RISE to conduct an outside evaluation to help them answer questions about the benefits, costs, and effectiveness of the program. RISE designed a four-part evaluation plan the included analysis of existing standardized test scores, educator focus groups, a community survey, and a cost analysis. A final report will be presented to the district during fall of the 2015-16 school year. The results will also be presented at the National Bilingual Education Association conference in March 2016.