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Regional Educational Laboratory Program

Time Needed for English Language Learners to Exit Washington State's English Learner Services


Seven high-poverty, diverse districts in Seattle (WA) and South King County are seeking to increase academic proficiency and graduation rates of their English language learner (ELL) students. To meet that goal, the districts have joined together in Road Map for Education Results, which is working with REL Northwest to better understand the needs of their ELL populations. Road Map members specifically want to know how long it takes their students to exit out of the state's Transitional Bilingual Instructional Program (TBIP). Districts also want to know exit times by a student's grade level, English proficiency at entry into the U.S. school system, and other student characteristics.

Research Questions: How long does it take, on average, for ELL students in Road Map districts who enter in grades K–6 to exit TBIP services, and how does time to exit vary by:

  • grade and by English proficiency at entry into U.S. schools
  • by district
  • by student characteristics, such as primary language, gender, special education status, and race/ethnicity
  • by school characteristics, such as school size, ethnic and racial diversity, and economic disadvantage

Study Design: REL Northwest will analyze seven years of data from ELL students who entered the Road Map districts in K–6 in 2005/06 using a longitudinal dataset provided by the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). The descriptive study will also use the TBIP database on students classified as ELLs. Publicly available school-level information on school size, ethnic and racial diversity, and economic disadvantage will be merged into the database from the OSPI School Report Card.

Projected Release Date: Winter 2015

Research Alliance: Road Map for Education Results (ELL Workgroup)—REL NW