Immersion education in the Netherlands: The relation between individual characteristics of bilingual primary school students and their English proficiency.
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The purpose of this study is two-fold: to examine the relation between the age of acquisition, native language and amount of classroom L2 exposure of immersion students and their English proficiency and to describe the future programmes of two bilingual primary (immersion) schools in the Netherlands. Immersion education is still at an early stage in the Netherlands and it is important to study the influence of these characteristics on English proficiency. Part one of this thesis makes use of a quantitative experiment whilst part two is achieved by interviews with the schools’ programme coordinators. For part one, 97 students from two bilingual primary schools were subject to tasks measuring their receptive vocabulary, productive vocabulary and receptive grammar. The results show that students with different ages of acquisition did not differ in their English proficiency whereas students with different native languages and amounts of classroom L2 exposure did differ. Students with English as their native language and students with a higher amount of classroom L2 exposure scored significantly higher on respectively, receptive grammar and productive vocabulary, and receptive vocabulary and grammar. Part two of this thesis is of a descriptive character and focusses on variables in the classroom. The programmes of both schools will stay relatively similar to the previous year as large changes are deemed risky due to the early stage immersion education is in. School 1 will undergo several changes due to the large influx of Dutch students while school 2 will continue the same path as before since the students’ progress is going well.