Productive Proficiency in Dutch Children Attending ‘Tpo’ versus ‘Vvto’ Education

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This study investigated second language (L2) acquisition of English for Dutch children aged 6-7 after three years of English instruction. Two groups were analysed regarding their productive skills: a tpo group (“tweetalig primair onderwijs”, bilingual primary education) a partial immersion programme newly introduced at primary schools in in the Netherlands, and a vvto group (“vroeg vreemde talen onderwijs”, early foreign language education). For tpo, 36% of their time in school consisted of English instruction, whereas for vvto this was only 12%. The Expressive Vocabulary Test (EVT-2, Williams, 2007) was used to test vocabulary knowledge, the ‘Word Structure’ test from the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals (CELF; Wiig, Secord, & Semel, 2006) was used to generate a general score on productive morphology skills, and lastly, the Test of Early Grammatical Impairment (TEGI, Rice & Wexler, 2001), was used to have scores on specific finite morphology structures. Analysis of the results revealed tpo children to score significantly better than vvto children on the EVT-2 and the CELF. Although a floor effect was found for the TEGI, the results also showed a better productive performance for the tpo group compared to the vvto group. This study concludes that after three years of English instruction, the tpo children had an advantage compared to the vvto children for L2 productive skills.
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