Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Education (Ed.D.)


Administrative and Instructional Leadership

First Advisor

Anthony Annunziato

Second Advisor

Rene Parmar

Third Advisor

Joan Birringer-Haig


With a growing English Language Learners (ELL) population in New York State (NYS), schools need to investigate best practices to serve this population. Based on a NYS Regulation, CR 154-2, districts with 20 or more ELL students who speak the same language at any given grade level should provide bilingual education (BE) all day, while districts with fewer than 20 students who speak the same home language at any given grade level may take English as a New Language (ENL) classes all day. Bilingual classes, where instruction is provided in a mix of English and the students’ home language, typically serve students with lower levels of English proficiency as compared with ENL classes, where students are fully immersed in English language-based instruction for some part of the day, despite their English proficiency scores. As a result, the experiences of these two groups of students are very different in terms of their English language exposure in the classroom. This mixed methods singular exploratory case study examined the gains the grades 2-5 students in the bilingual classes (n = 270) demonstrated in reading, writing, listening, speaking and overall English language acquisition skills, as measured by the NYSESLAT, in comparison to the students in the ENL classes (n = 145). The current study also examined the teachers’ perceptions of the pedagogical and methodical practices and English language use that they apply in their ELL classrooms, and why they believed their approach was the most effective practice to increase the rate of students’ English language acquisition. The findings from comparing NYSESLAT scores between the two groups using ANCOVA revealed that students in bilingual classes showed more gains in writing and speaking and students in ENL classes showed more gains in reading, listening, and overall. Teachers of bilingual classes focused more on teaching language acquisition skills in regards to the four modalities and teachers of ENL classes focused more on grade-level content. It is suggested that both classes are effective and teachers, regardless of the class they teach, should focus on both content and language acquisition skills since they are both closely related.