The Effects of Bilingual Placement and Middle School Transition on the Sense of School Belonging in Hispanic Students



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Because bilingual programs provide a secure environment likely to promote school belonging, it was hypothesized that Hispanic students in a bilingual program would experience higher belonging than those in regular education and that they would experience a steeper drop in belonging at the transition to middle school. Participants were 277 Hispanic and White elementary and middle school students who were followed longitudinally from grade 4 to 6. Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) was used to compare the mean levels of school belonging across groups and measure the change in school belonging at the transition. Results suggested that Hispanic students both in bilingual and in regular education had higher belonging than White students and that groups did not differ in their change in belonging at the transition to middle school.