Towards growth for Spanish heritage programs in the United States: Key markers of success

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11 Scopus citations


Spanish heritage language (SHL) programs are multiplying in the United States, but our understanding of what constitutes effective practices for administering such programs remains quite limited. The aim of this study is to identify successful SHL programs in postsecondary institutions nationwide and examine key characteristics that appear to be contributing to their success. A two-part survey study was conducted for which 98 responses were received from 19 different states (80 for the first survey and 18 for the second). By means of a contrastive content analysis, results from 12 program participants (seven in the successful group and five in the unsuccessful group) where analyzed to determine key markers of success. The results pointed to four programmatic markers and four curricular markers. As Spanish or world languages departments undertake the task of building or redesigning their heritage courses, this study may help inform decisions on how to allocate resources and set priorities in order to enhance their chances of success.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)416-437
Number of pages22
JournalForeign Language Annals
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


  • Spanish heritage language instruction
  • language program design
  • language program direction
  • survey research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Linguistics and Language


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