This study aims to increase understanding of factors that account for academic English language proficiency in a sample of 274 adolescent first-generation immigrant students from China, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Central America, and Mexico. Previous research has shown the importance of English language proficiency in predicting academic achievement measured by GPA and achievement tests. The present study describes the academic English language proficiency of immigrant youth after, on average, 7 years in the United States and models factors that contribute to variation. Findings show that although differences in individual student characteristics partially explain variation in English language proficiency, the schools that immigrant youth attended are also important. The amount of time that students spent speaking English in informal social situations is predictive of English language proficiency. These findings demonstrate that social context factors directly affect language learning among adolescent immigrant youth and suggest a crucial role for school and peer interventions.
Home Environment and Language Practices
Family and Community Involvement