French second-language programs are among the most studied educational programs in Canada. Research studies, articles, papers and statistics are a great way to become educated on the issues facing FSL programs and the French language in Canada. Learn more by reading the selection of research listed below. These documents offer just a taste of the research that is out there if you really start looking!

Research Articles

Canadian Bilingualism : pourquoi c’est important A short article published in Canadian Newcomer Magazine in 2008. Written by Benoit Hardy-Vallée it is a brief overview of the role of bilingualism in Canada and its advantages.

Dual-Track vs. Single-Track French Immersion ProgramsDifferences in Setting – Compiled Research of the Comparison in Academic Achievement. This report is intended to give an overview of academic research that examines the differences between dual-track French Immersion schools and single-track French Immersion schools, specifically concentrating on findings of differences in academic achievement. It is worth noting that research in the area is limited.

Dyslexia in the Immersion Classroom this article was published in the American Council on Immersion Education Newsletter on May 2004 by Mona Anton, a parent of a dyslexic student at L’Etoile du Nord French Immersion School, St. Paul, Minnesota.

Does French immersion improve reading achievementThis article has been adapted from “Reading achievement of students in French immersion programs”. It uses data from the 2000 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) to compare the reading achievement of Canadian 15-year-olds enrolled in immersion and non-immersion programs in English-language school systems in the 10 provinces.

Early Identification and Intervention for At-Risk Readers in French Immersion A research article that answers the question: How can early French immersion teachers prevent struggling readers from experiencing persistent reading problems? Originally published as part of the Research into Practice series produced by a partnership between The Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat and the Ontario Association of Deans of Education.

Evolution of the Education System An article published by the Office of Official Languages during 25th anniversary of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, about achievements and challenges for French minority language education in Canada.

French Immersion Education in Canada In 1969, Canada’s Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism released its landmark final report which, among many other things, recommended making French an official language alongside English. Parliament passed the Official Languages Act not long after, yet nearly 40 years later fewer than 20% of Canadians can speak both of our official languages. This article was published in 2007.

French immersion 30 years later: French immersion programs were introduced into Canadian schools in the 1970s to encourage bilingualism across the country. Thirty years later, immersion programs provide an alternative education stream for many students. This report was compiled by Statistics Canada.

From Coast to Coast in two Languages: An article written for the 25th Anniversary the Charter, highlighting how the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms has spawned a new generation.

Gender Differences in Motivation to Learn FrenchThere is concern among second language educators in Canada that male students are losing interest in studying French as a second language (FSL). In response, in the fall of 2003, a study was conducted to investigate gender differences in second language (L2) motivation among Grade 9 core French students.

How the Funding WorksThis article is from the 1978 edition of the CPF Newsletter. It is the first ever “public” explanation of how the funding for FSL programs works.

Parlez-vous français? The advantages of bilingualism in CanadaWhile official bilingualism contributes to the richness of Canada’s multicultural society, personal bilingualism confers a number of individual benefits, including economic benefits. Many Canadians are aware of these benefits; however, relatively few Canadians speak both of Canada’s official languages. This article was published in 2008.

Parliament: Bilingual or Not?: An article by Peter Murphy about bilingualism in Parliament: and the effect of the Charter on the use of both official languages.

Projections of the diversity of the Canadian population: A summary of growth scenarios in the Canadian population between 2006 to 2031 compiled by Statistics Canada.

School Dropouts: Who Are They and What Can Be Done? An article published by C.D. Howe Institute on January 6, 2011, analyzing the causes for leaving school, and how to encourage the continuation of education.

Teaching French Through Music In The French Immersion Kindergarten Classroom is an article that discusses this unique teaching practice.

Research Papers / Studies

BC Francophone Community Final ReportThe Société du développement de la Colombie-Britannique (SDECB) wished to gain an understanding of the nature of the relationship BC Francophones have with the francophone community, in particular the network of francophone community organizations and events. As a result, the SDECB commissioned Ipsos Reid to conduct a survey of francophones and francophiles in British Columbia.

Annual Reports of the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages (OCOL). The OCOL’s Annual Reports include a wealth of information and recommendations for improving Canada’s linguistic learning opportunities.

Bilingualism: Our Past or Part of Our Future?This paper reports on the attitudes of Canadians to language and bilingualism. Because Francophones in Quebec are almost unanimous both in their support of the official languages policy and in their interest in learning a second language, the paper distinguishes between their views and the views of Anglophones in the other nine provinces.

Comparing the Student Achievement and Learning Experiences of Elementary French Immersion Students in Dual-Track and Single-Track Environments

The purpose of the review of the literature is to compile and discuss research literature that focuses on comparing French immersion student achievement and learning experiences in two different delivery structures, dual- track and single-track schools. The question guiding the inquiry is, “Are there differences in elementary French immersion student achievement and learning experiences in single-track and dual-track environments?” The question is not easily answerable. At present we lack sufficient empirical evidence to respond confidently.

Effects of Kindergarten Experience on Academic Progress in French Immersion Programs An examination of existing data was conducted to determine the effects of different kindergarten options on subsequent academic achievement in French Immersion programs.

French and English Literacy in French Immersion: Student Performance and Perceptions: This paper presents first the longitudinal intensity study and its quantitative results in French, English and Mathematics since it constitutes the context for the analysis of the studentsí self-assessment and perceptions, then it presents the studentsí self-assessment, then their perceptions on the importance of reading, vocabulary and grammar study for writing in French and finally recommendations they gave to their teachers for the future.

French Immersion in the USA: CPF BC & Yukon researched immersion programs in the United States to see whether or not language immersion programs are catching on with our neighbours to the South. It turns out they are, and French immersion is booming!

Government of Canada Consultations on Linguistic Duality and Official LanguagesThis paper is an overview of official languages’ issues published in 2007 in order to give the participants of the Government of Canada’s Consultations on Linguistic Duality and Official Languages an opportunity to think about and discuss the questions they were being asked.

The Implementation of the Official Languages Act – A New Approach, a New VisionAfter 40 years, have we really met the objectives of the Official Languages Act? The FCFA takes a critical look at four decades of official languages policy in Canada and presents concrete proposals to ensure full implementation of the Act. (Published on November 25, 2009)

Parent Information – Intensive FrenchThe Vancouver School Board has compiled a report that discusses the benefits of Intensive French as a French Second Language program option.

The Relationship Between School Environment and Effectiveness in French ImmersionThe purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between school environment and effectiveness in French immersion. The two settings investigated were the immersion-centre school, where all students were involved in the French immersion program, and the dual-track school, in which the French immersion and regular English program co-existed.

The Relative Effectiveness of Different Core French Delivery Models – Review of ResearchBased on a comprehensive literature search and a survey of members of the National Council of the Canadian Association of Second Language Teachers (CASLT) and some of its Board members, this review was undertaken to summarize existing knowledge about modes of delivery of core French across Canada. The focus was on the relative effectiveness of different formats for core French.

A Review of the Literature on Second Language LearningThe Language Research Centre of the University of Calgary was asked to update the 2004 review of the literature on four aspects of language learning, focussing on the benefits and challenges for language learners in four topic areas. This literature and research review was conducted to provide information to guide future work on language learning in Alberta.

Student Attrition In Specialized High School Programs – An Examination Of Three French Immersion Centres Student attrition has always been a problem for French immersion programs, especially at the high school level. In response to a lack of current research, this study seeks to discover if the problem persists. It also examines how today’s French immersion high schools are dealing with other problem areas identified in research done in the past.

Struggling Learners and Language Immersion Education – Research-based, Practitioner-informed Responses to Educators’ Top Questions: In response to practitioners’ most pressing questions this book offers: real stories, background information and research summaries, discussion, guiding principles, reference materials and useful web resources. It is a handbook that provides dual language and immersion educators and parents with rich information and practical resources that address common concerns with children who struggle with language, literacy and learning. It can be ordered online from the University of Minnesota’s website for the Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquistion, however print and web-based resources that complement the newly published handbook are organized by chapter and are linked to the CARLA website. In parallel to the handbook, these resources are organized based on immersion educators’ top questions about struggling immersion learners.

The Suitability of French Immersion for Students Who Are At-risk – A Review of Research Evidence

Fred Genesee of McGill University has conducted a research review of various articles on French Immersion instruction to analyse how students with developmental disabilities perform in the program.

Two Languages, A World of Opportunities – Second-language learning in Canada’s Universities This report presents findings and results from a major study on second-language-learning opportunities in Canada’s universities undertaken in 2008 and 2009 by the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages (OCOL).

Statistics

The BC Foundation Skills Assesment (FSA) Results for French Immersion results up to 2008/09: BC Foundation Skills Assessment Results for all students
It is also possible to request the FI results per district and per French Immersion school. You will see the division where the new baseline starts. For information on the baseline changes and the New Baseline visit the FSA website: http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/assessment/fsa/2010_updates.htm. Similar to the 2008 and 2009 FSA, content of the 2010 FSA has been developed to reflect a February administration time frame. In Reading and Writing, the materials and the questions were selected for a mid-year profile. The Grade 4 Numeracy will continue to assess learning outcomes from K-4; the Grade 7 Numeracy will continue to address earning outcomes from Grade 7 and from previous years. Generally, if a concept has been introduced in Grades 2/3 or 5/6 and is expanded upon in grades 4 or 7, the concept is considered to be valid for inclusion on the 2010 assessment.

Languages in the World a list compiled by the Office of Official Languages of officially bilingual sovereign states. Also, you can learn about the different types of language rights that exist around the world, and the constitutional rights and language legislation around the world

CPF National Research Documents

The FSL Enrolment Reports These reports provide a quick analysis in words and figures of national trends in French-second-language enrolment, as well as trends in each province and territory. The analysis looks at growth and coverage in enrolment across Canada. Click here to view current and past reports through CPF National.

Ipsos Reid Survey CPF National commissioned Ipsos Reid to conduct a small national survey of about 500 supervisors of bilingual employees to learn more about the nature of the job market in Canada, outside of Quebec and outside of the public service, for workers who can communicate in both English and French. The report presents survey findings and calls on government and education stakeholders to conduct larger-scale surveys so that parents, students and employers are aware of the demand for bilingual employees. Click here to view the full report.

RCCFC Guidance Counsellor Survey CPF was commissioned by the Réseau des cégeps et des collèges francophones du Canada (RCCFC) to conduct an exploratory survey of high school guidance counsellors who advise senior French immersion. Click here to view the report.

Stakeholder Reports: At the provincial/territorial consultations in 2004, French-second-language stakeholders across the country were asked to respond to findings from the national Vision and Challenges Symposium and to develop strategies, appropriate to their jurisdictions, which would assist in the realization of the goals of the federal Action Plan for Official Languages. Click here to view these reports through CPF National.

The State of French-second-language education in Canada Reports: Each year CPF National compiles annual assessments of how well French-second-language (FSL) programs are faring across Canada and examine the quality of national and provincial support for FSL programs offered to Canadian students. These reports are published annually with the participation and co-operation of CPF Branches across the country. CPF Branches gather information regarding FSL education in each province/territory, with the co-operation of ministries of education. The National Office also works directly with ministries of education to gather enrolment data. Click here to view current and past reports through CPF National.

Other Important Research Resources

The BC Ministry of Education produces many online publications and reports. Click here to access these documents on their website.

The Canadian Institute for Research on Linguistic Minorities (CIRLM) was established in 2002 through a trust fund created by the government of Canada. Located on the campus of the Université de Moncton, the CIRLM is an independent non-profit organization whose mission is to promote research and data collection on issues that are vital to Canada’s official language communities, i.e. the Anglophones in Quebec and the Francophones outside of Quebec.

The Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages site features a Statistic page which provides access to different articles relevant to the subject of Official languages in Canada. The statistics presented on the OCCL website include: profiles on the use of official languages in the Canadian population, Second Language Education, Languages used in the workplace, Canada’s linguistic profile, and public opinion on official languages. The OCCL has also published a variety of Studies on subjects pertaining to Official Languages over the years that can be viewed and ordered from their website.

Statistics Canada is also a valuable resource for research, you can search for research on a variety of topics with their search menu, that can be viewed online or ordered from them in paper format.

The BC Ministry of Education has a Federal Funding Support under Official Languages in Education Protocol (OLEP) page where you can download information about each school districts’ allocation of federal funds for French language instruction across the province.

Federal Funding Guide, broken down by School District. Includes allocations and totals spent. Released annually, parents can use these documents to monitor how their school districts allocate Federal French Funds.

The State of FSL Education in Canada

The State of French-Second-Language Education in Canada research reports examine how well French-second-language (FSL) programs are faring across Canada, using common indicators of effective support for FSL programs.

French Second Language Programs in BC & Yukon: Summary of Findings

French Second Language Programs in BC & Yukon: Trends, Challenges and Best Practices (Full Report)

Canadian Parents for French BC & Yukon has collected information about French second language programs in school districts across the province to better support its advocacy efforts. Through an analysis of enrolment and attrition trends, supplemented by a survey of district language coordinators, CPF BC & Yukon is able to offer some insight into the current state of FSL programs, common obstacles to French second language program delivery, and the creative solutions that school boards use to overcome these obstacles.

Research Database (CPF members only)

This database is a good starting point for finding information about FSL issues that interest you.

  • Strategic and Growth Planning

    FSL feasibility studies, parent surveys, reviews, and strategic planning reports.

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Second Language Course Requirements for Non-Specialist Teachers
This table contains second language course requirements from several BC universities for non-specialist teachers. The focus on non-specialist teacher requirements seeks to explain the impact of course requirements on the French proficiency levels of Core French teachers who may not have taken a French specialization while they were in university.

See also:

CPF Guide to FSL Schools (CPF members only)

FSL Backgrounders (via CPF National)