Are young dual language learners homogeneous? Identifying subgroups using latent class analysis

Do Hong Kim, Richard G. Lambert, Diane C. Burts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


Although dual language learners (DLLs) are linguistically, culturally, and socially diverse, researchers usually study them in aggregate and compare them to non-DLLs. The authors' purpose was to identify subgroups of preschool DLLs using latent class analysis. There were 7,361 DLLs and 69,457 non-DLLs. Results revealed three distinct classes. Children in class 1 (emergent bilingual children) tended to speak mostly their native language but some English at home and in the classroom. Children in class 2 (bilingual children) tended to speak English only in the classroom, but spoke both languages at home. Children in class 3 (heritage language speakers) tended to speak only their native language at home and in the classroom. Different demographic profiles and levels of development and learning were observed across classes. The DLL subgroups and their profiles provide important information about how educational programs may be tailored to meet the diverse needs of young DLLs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-57
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Educational Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2 2018
Externally publishedYes



  • Dual language learners
  • latent class analysis
  • preschool children

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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