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Volume 9 Number 4, Winter 2012, Pages 1-189   

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The Effect of English Learning in Elementary School on Students' English Language Development in Junior High School

    Shigeo Uematsu

This study was an investigation of the effect of English as a Foreign Language at Elementary Schools (EFLES) in Japan on students' later English language learning in junior high school. The participants were a total of 2,000 public junior high school students in grades 7, 8, and 9 (about 220-260 students in each grade for a three-year research period). The participants received from 10-90 hours of EFLES in grades 5 and 6 of local public elementary schools. The amount of EFLES implementation basically increased every year. The research question was: To what degree does EFLES affect the students' future English skill development in vocabulary and grammar, reading, and listening measured by standardized tests administered respectively in grades 7, 8, and 9? The positive effect of EFLES was observed in the grade 7 students who had received 90 hours of EFLES classes since grade 4. An advantage was shown in higher English test scores for vocabulary and grammar, reading, and listening, though it did not reach a statistically significant level. In speaking tests conducted in grade 8, students' scores improved each year to a statistically significant level with large effect sizes (d = 1.23, d = .80 for story-telling test).

Keywords: EFL, elementary school, speaking, Japanese secondary learners