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Institute of Education

Evaluation of the Bilingual Education Programs in Gymnasium (Academically Oriented Secondary) Schools in the Canton of Zurich Based on a Quasi-Experimental Designs

Duration: 2004-2005 / 2006-2009

Project leader: Dr. Rita Stebler

Project partners: Prof. Dr. Katharina Maag Merki and Prof. Dr. Judith Hollenweger

With the 2001/2002 school year, the Canton of Zurich launched a pilot project introducing the bilingual Matura (exit exam) at Zurich academically oriented secondary schools (German/English).

The project was initially limited to five years and later extended by an additional three years to the end of the 2008/09 school year. Each school has developed its own concept for this bilingual education program, geared toward cantonal and federal guidelines. Students learn the target language both through English language classes and through immersion courses in other subjects, mainly history and math. Up to the 2004/05 school year, a total of ten Gymnasium (academically oriented secondary) schools were involved in the pilot project. On November 13, 2006, the Swiss Education Council approved the inclusion of three additional cantonal schools in the pilot project. The research group was commissioned to conduct the external evaluation of the pilot project. For the present longitudinal study (2004-2009) it is using a research design with various modules: student survey, teacher survey, video analysis of teaching, English achievement test, performance evaluation in history, survey of former students. The ten Gymnasium schools from the first pilot phase were included in the study. Samples were drawn from the students comprising immersion and control groups, enabling a longitudinal study to be conducted with a quasi-experimental design. All teachers were included who taught English language or immersion courses in other subjects. A total of three surveys were carried out (2005, 2007, 2008).


  • Stebler, R. & Maag Merki, K. (Hrsg.) (2010): Zweisprachig lernen. Prozesse und Wirkungen eines immersiven Ausbildungsganges an Gymnasien. Münster: Waxmann.