Socioeconomic status and bilingual competence in monolingual Southern Europe: egalitarian effects of Content and Language Integrated Learning

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Our study measured the correlation between socioeconomic status and performance in CLIL and non-CLIL education in Andalusia, southern Spain. Unlike in other educational contexts, CLIL seems to contribute to greater equity, as it eliminates the weight that socioeconomic status has on student performance.
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In monolingual Spain, Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLILI) has experienced a great development in only two decades. Solely in Andalusia, a southern region, the bilingual programme is in place in 1,079 schools, accommodating more than 300,000 students. Given these figures, it was vital to analyse whether the bilingual programme was compromising the equity levels of the education system, as reported by Anghel et al. (2016), among others.

For this contribution, the performance levels of CLIL students and non-CLIL students were measured for the courses of Spanish L1, English L2 and history; and they were analysed in relation to the students’ socioeconomic status levels. The sample was composed of over 3,800 students, selected by stratified random sampling for their accurate representation of the four socioeconomic status levels (SES 1 to SES 4) present in society. The data were then subjected to a Bonferroni test to determine their significance levels. Results point to the egalitarian power of CLIL education: while a staircase pattern emerges in the performance levels of all non-CLIL students (each socioeconomic stratum obtains better results than the one below), all CLIL students obtain equally high results regardless of their socioeconomic status. The talk will explore the causes behind these results, and the data will be interpreted in terms of cognitive academic language proficiency (CALP) development (Lorenzo et al., 2019).


Anghel, B., Cabrales, A., & Carro, J. M. (2016). Evaluating a bilingual education programme in Spain: The impact beyond foreign language learning. Economic Inquiry, 54(2), pp. 1202-1223.

Lorenzo, F., Granados, A. & Ávila, I. (2019) The development of cognitive academic language proficiency in multilingual education: Evidence of a longitudinal study on the language of history. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 41, DOI:
Pablo de Olavide University
Pablo de Olavide University

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