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IES Grant

Title: The Oregon English Learner Alliance: A Partnership to Explore Factors Associated with Variation in Outcomes for Current and Former English Learners in Oregon
Center: NCER Year: 2014
Principal Investigator: Thompson, Karen Awardee: Oregon State University
Program: Researcher-Practitioner Partnerships in Education Research      [Program Details]
Award Period: 2 years (8/1/2014 – 7/31/2016) Award Amount: $399,928
Goal: Researcher-Practitioner Partnership Award Number: R305H140072

Co-Principal Investigator: David Bautista ( Oregon Department of Education)

Partner(s): Oregon Department of Education, WestEd

Education Issue: The number of English language learners (ELLs) in Oregon increased greatly over the past two decades, and ELLs now comprise 10% of the state’s K-12 population. Efforts to explore the factors that contribute to ELL academic success are hampered by a lack of information on what differentiates ELLs who are eventually reclassified out of ELL status from those who are not. Furthermore, information describing the instructional programs that ELLs in the state experience needs further development and validation in order to support analysis of characteristics of instruction that contribute to better educational outcomes for ELLs.

Partnership Goal: Under the proposed project, the Oregon English Learner Alliance will conduct analyses to determine best practices to support academic achievement among current and former ELLs. The partnership will enhance existing databases to include information on ELL classification status, build a model for characterizing the instructional programs they experience, and examine the relationship between instructional program and educational outcomes of both current and former ELLs.

Partners and Partnership Activities: The Oregon English Learner Alliance is a new partnership that builds on existing relationships and statewide momentum to work towards improving outcomes for the state’s ELLs, and is comprised of Oregon State University, the Oregon Department of Education, and WestEd.

The Oregon Education Investment Board, which oversees education initiatives in Oregon, approved the first-ever statewide ELL Strategic Plan in April of 2013. Approximately 150 superintendents and 400 educators contributed to crafting this plan, the mission of which is to prepare all ELLs to be ready to meet demanding college and career-ready standards. This plan identified the need to follow both current and former ELLs in order to identify instructional programs that best serve ELLs. Furthermore, interest in bilingual education in Oregon is growing and resulted in the recent creation of a new grant program to support development of dual-language instructional programs.

The Alliance will implement a flag that identifies all students who have exited ELL status, including after the required two-year monitoring period ends. Next, the Alliance will compile information on the types of instructional program models in use in Oregon, with particular attention to bilingual programs. The Alliance will then conduct preliminary analyses for current and former ELLs (including time necessary to exit ELL status, attainment of targets on content-area assessments, and graduation) and factors related to variation in outcomes (including variation by program model, by school, and by district).

Setting: The project will analyze longitudinal data from all public schools in Oregon.

Population/Sample: The sample will consist of all current and former ELLs enrolled in Oregon schools from 2006 – 2013. Approximately 75% of Oregon ELLs are native Spanish speakers, with Russian, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Ukrainian representing the other most frequently spoken home languages.

Initial Analysis: The project will use a longitudinal, student-level database including information on all students enrolled in Oregon public schools from 2006-2007 through 2012-2013 in conducting regression analysis of longitudinal data at the student, school, and district levels. Initial analyses will describe the characteristics of ELLs in Oregon. Researchers will then conduct preliminary analyses to predict educational outcomes from current/former ELL status by demographic characteristics (including gender, ethnicity, eligibility for free/reduced-price lunch), initial English proficiency, and eligibility for Special Education and Talented and Gifted programs. Researchers will use these analyses to identify schools and districts in which ELLs exit more quickly and attain higher content-area proficiency than is typical across the state for study in future research efforts. The research team will analyze information on program models to examine the association between types of program models districts offer and other district characteristics, and then in relationship to student outcomes.


Journal article, monograph, or newsletter

Robinson-Cimpian, J.P., Thompson, K.D., and Makowski, M. (2017). Evaluating English Learner Reclassification Policy Effects Across Districts. American Educational Research Journal, 54(1): 255S-278S.

Robinson-Cimpian, J.P., Thompson, K.D., and Umansky, I.M. (2016). Research and Policy Considerations for English Learner Equity. Policy Insights From the Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 3(1): 129–137.

Thompson, K.D., Martinez, M.I., Clinton, C., and Díaz, G. (2017). Considering Interest and Action: Analyzing Types of Questions Explored by Researcher-Practitioner Partnerships. Educational Researcher, 46(8): 464–473.

Umansky, I.M., Thompson, K.D., Diaz, G. (2017). Using an Ever-EL framework to examine Special education disproportionality among English learners. Exceptional Children, 84(1): 76–96.