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Postsecondary Level

Language Proficiency Issues Related to the Foreign Language Immersion Program (FLIP) at the University of Minnesota

Research on the University of Minnesota Spanish Foreign Language Immersion Program (FLIP) looked at two main issues:

  1. what level of language proficiency do students need upon entry into FLIP in order to pass FLIP courses with a grade of C or better?
  2. to what degree do students' L2 skills improve in FLIP?

Klee and Tedick summarized the research conducted in 1994 and 1995 on the Spanish FLIP program in a chapter that highlights the assessment measures that were developed for the FLIP program. For more information see the published work:

Klee, Carol A. and Diane J. Tedick. 1997. The undergraduate foreign language immersion program in Spanish at the University of Minnesota. Content-Based Instruction in the Foreign Language Classroom, ed. by Steven Stryker and Betty L. Leaver, 140-173. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press.

The research project carried out in the Spanish FLIP program in 1996 was published in Hispania.  For more information see the published work:

Lynch, Andrew, Carol A. Klee, and Diane J. Tedick. 2001. Social factors and Spanish language proficiency in postsecondary Spanish immersion: issues and implications. Hispania 84. 265-79.

An evaluational study was conducted on the FLIP programs in all three languages offered through the program (French, German, and Spanish). A summary of the report (evaluation plan and results of the first three years) of this study is available, written by Professors Carol Klee, Andrew Cohen, and Diane Tedick, Content-based instruction in Spanish, French, and German at the University of Minnesota.

A report on the French and German FLIP programs written by Cohen and Allison indicates the success of these programs in producing solid gains in academic language proficiency. Additionally, a study (PDF) conducted by Cohen and Allison on strategies used by University of Minnesota FLIP students in performing listening, reading, writing, and speaking tasks indicates that the immersion context—due to its special linguistic and social dimensions—promoted greater use of cognitive processing strategies directly through the immersion language.

An overview of the studies (PDF) on the French and German FLIP programs is available.

For more information see the following published works:

Cohen, A. D. & Allison, K. 1998. Bilingual processing strategies in a university-level immersion program. Ilha do Desterro, 35, 187-201.
Cohen, A. D. & Allison, K. (2001). Bilingual processing strategies in the social context of an undergraduate immersion program. In R. L. Cooper, E. Shohamy and J. Walters (Eds.), New perspectives and issues in educational language policy: In honour of Bernard Dov Spolsky. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 35-60.

© Available with kind permission from John Benjamins Publishing Company, Amsterdam/Philadelphia: www.benjamins.com.


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Last Modified: April 12, 2017 at 11:50