A new Stanford University study reports some surprising results: fourth and fifth graders at a Palo Alto school performed on par with high school students in Mandarin.
The elementary students attend Palo Alto's Ohlone Elementary dual-language immersion program, which means they are taught all subjects for at least half the day in Mandarin. The high school students were 4th and 5th level Advanced Placement Mandarin students.
The Stanford Graduate School of Education researchers found the elementary and high school students had the same level of linguistic competency in Mandarin, with some fifth graders even outperforming the high schoolers in reading. The results of their study are published in the spring issue of Foreign Language Annals.