Research actually suggests that studying a second language in elementary school can boost students' overall academic achievement, including higher performance in their first language. Research also finds that early elementary second-language study enhances a child’s overall cognitive development and problem-solving skills and helps them develops more flexible thinking. (Weise)
Decades of research on English-speaking immersion students of various academic abilities shows that these learners are capable of achieving high levels of functional proficiency in the immersion language while at the same time achieving academically at or above their non-immersion peers on standardized tests administered in English. And, yes, students from a range of socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds are successful in these programs. (Genesee)
Research also shows evidence of better nonverbal problem-solving abilities among second-language immersion students. It’s even been suggested that the very processes learners need to use to make sense of the teacher’s meaning make them pay closer attention and think harder. These processes, in turn, appear to have a positive effect on cognitive development. (Bamford)
If you're looking for information about how VAIS students have performed on standardized tests, click here.
Weise, Beth. "FAQ: Everything you always wanted to know about Mandarin Immersion." Mandarin Immersion Parents Council. N.p., May 2011. Web. 8 Nov 2011. http://miparentscouncil.org/faq/.
Genesee, F. (2007). Top ten most consistent findings from
research on foreign
language immersion. ACIE Newsletter, 10(3), 7 & 10.
Genesee, F. (2004).
What do we know about bilingual education for majority
language students. In T.K. Bhatia & W. Ritchie (Eds.) Handbook of bilingualism
and multilingualism (pp. 547-576). Malden, MA: Blackwell.
Bamford, K. and Mizokawa,
D. (1991). Additive-bilingual (immersion) education:
Cognitive and language development. Language Learning 41(3), 413-429.