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English Learners
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English Learner students attend schools across the United States and RELs work in partnership with states and districts to 1) conduct original high quality research, 2) provide training, coaching, and technical support, and 3) disseminate high quality research findings about the achievement and trajectory of English Learners. A selected list of resources developed by the REL Program appears below.

Publications

  • Teacher Certification and Academic Growth among English Learner Students in the Houston Independent School District (REL Southwest, February 2018). This study examined teacher bilingual certification and certification route to gain a deeper understanding of the relationship between these factors and English learner (EL) students' academic growth. The study focused on teachers and grades 4–5 EL students at Houston Independent School District.
  • Initial Spanish Proficiency and English language Development among Spanish-Speaking English Learner Students in New Mexico (REL Southwest, January 2018). The purpose of this study was to understand whether differences in initial kindergarten Spanish proficiency for English learner students were linked to disparities in attaining English proficiency and academic achievement in reading and math by grades 4 and 5.
  • Time to Proficiency for Hispanic English Learner Students in Texas (REL Southwest, November 2017). This study examined the time it took for English learner students in Texas public schools to reach key educational outcomes for the first time, including attaining English proficiency and satisfactory performance on reading and mathematics state assessments. The study also estimated the probability of attaining these outcomes based on several student characteristics (e.g., initial English language proficiency, receipt of special education services, and being overaged at grade 1 entry) and educational experiences (e.g., the type of English learner program: English as a Second Language or bilingual).
  • Are two commonly used early warning indicators accurate predictors of dropout for English learner students? Evidence from six districts in Washington state (REL Northwest, March 2017). Improving retention and graduation rates for English learner (EL) students is a concern throughout the Northwest and particularly for the seven South Seattle and South King County (WA) school districts that participate in the Road Map Project. This study looks at whether early warning indicators used to predict high school dropout in Road Map school districts are accurate predictors for ELs in those districts.
  • Graduation outcomes of students who entered New York City public schools in grade 5 or 6 as English learner students (REL Northeast and Islands, February 2017) This study followed students initially classified as English learner students in grades 5 and 6 in the 2003/04 school year through their expected years of graduation to estimate on-time graduation rates and for two additional years to estimate five-year and six-year graduation rates.
  • Home Language Survey Data Quality Self-Assessment (REL Northeast & Islands, February 2017) This 15-minute self-assessment is designed for use by state leaders who coordinate programs to support students' English language acquisition and achievement in districts, as well as for district leaders who oversee the English learner student identification process in schools. The tool supports the collection of high-quality home language survey data by gathering information from district English learner student coordinators and prompts self-assessment of key practices that impact the quality of home language survey data.
  • Advanced Course Enrollment and Performance among for English Learner Students in Washington State (REL Northwest, November 2016). This descriptive study looks at opportunities for English learner (EL) students to take advanced courses (e.g., Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate) in highly diverse, high-poverty districts in the Seattle (WA) area. It will also measure how many EL students enroll in such courses and how well they perform.
  • High School Graduation Rate of Students across English Learner Student Subgroups in Arizona (REL West, November 2016). This study responds to this call for more focused analyses by examining the variation in four-year high school graduation rates across five English learner status subgroups in Arizona: never English learner students; long-term English learner students; new English learner students; recently proficient former English learner students; and long-term proficient former English learner students. By describing the variation in high school graduation rates across these English learner status subgroups and exploring what explains more or less of the variation, we hope this study can enable education policymakers and educators to more effectively promote the college and career readiness of current and former English learner students through more targeted supports.
  • Patterns of English Learner Student Reclassification in New York City Public Schools (REL Northeast and Islands, October 2016). Drawing on longitudinal administrative data from 2003 to 2012, this study, conducted for the English Language Learners Alliance at REL Northeast & Islands, will describe how long it took English learner students to become reclassified and the student characteristics associated with longer or shorter times to reclassification.
  • English Learner Students' Readiness for Academic Success: The Predictive Potential of English Language Proficiency Assessment Scores in Arizona and Nevada (REL West, October 2016). Members of the English Learner Alliance are concerned about whether English learner students can successfully make the transition from their English Language Development (ELD) support programs to full inclusion in English-only mainstream classes. The EL Alliance members would like to identify those Reclassified Fluent English Proficient (RFEP) student who appear less likely to be academically successful in mainstream English-only classes.
  • The Achievement Progress of English Learner Students in Nevada (REL West, August 2016). The purpose of this study was to examine the cumulative progress of English learner students in Nevada in English language proficiency (ELP) and in academic content knowledge in both reading and mathematics. This study identified students in grades kindergarten, 3, and 6 who were designated as English learner students in 2006/07 and examined their progress from 2006/07 through 2011/12 on the ELP test, the reading content test, and the math content test as well as student characteristics.
  • The Achievement Progress of English Learner Students in Utah (REL West, August 2016). The purpose of this study was to examine the cumulative progress of English learner students in Utah in English language proficiency (ELP) and in academic content knowledge in both English language arts and mathematics. This study identified students in grades kindergarten, 3, and 6 who were designated as English learner students in 2006/07 and examined their progress from 2006/07 through 2011/12 on the ELP test, the ELA content test, and the math content test, as well as student characteristics.
  • Using Computer-Adaptive Assessments of Literacy to Monitor the Progress of English Learner Students (REL Southeast, June 2016). The purpose of this study was to examine (a) how teachers and school staff individually administer computer-adaptive assessments of literacy to English learner students in grades 3–5, and (b) how they use the assessments to monitor students' growth. Because adaptive assessments maximize precision of information while minimizing time spent gaining it, they are particularly valuable for students whose performance is outside typical grade-level norms such as English learner students.
  • Time to Reclassification: How Long Does It Take English Language Learners in the Washington Road Map School Districts To Develop English Proficiency? (REL Northwest, March 2016). This study examined how long it typically takes English learner students to become proficient in English and how this time differs by student characteristics, such as gender, home language, or initial proficiency in English. The authors analyzed state data for 16,957 English learner students who entered kindergarten between 2005/06 and 2011/12 in seven cohorts.
  • The Achievement Progress of English Learner Students in Arizona (REL West, September 2015). To understand the learning trajectories of the growing numbers of English learner students in the West, especially those who struggle to pass state English language arts and math content tests, this study followed three cohorts of English learner students in Arizona over six school years, 2006/07 through 2011/12, to assess their progress in English proficiency and their academic progress in English language arts and math content knowledge.
  • Suspension, Expulsion, and Achievement of English Learner Students in Six Oregon Districts (REL Northwest, August 2015). This study examines data from six Oregon school districts to discern patterns of exclusionary discipline and the association of exclusionary discipline with achievement on state assessments in reading and mathematics for English language learner (ELL) students, who are a large, growing, and challenging population in Oregon schools. The districts will use the results to develop specific plans for making their disciplinary practices both fair and effective.
  • Professional Learning Communities Facilitator's Guide for the What Works Clearinghouse Practice Guide Teaching Academic Content and Literacy to English Learners in Elementary and Middle School (REL Southwest, July 2015). This guide is designed to assist teams of educators in applying the evidence-based strategies presented in the Teaching Academic Content and Literacy to English Learners in Elementary and Middle School educator's practice guide, developed by the What Works Clearinghouse. Through this collaborative learning experience, educators will expand their knowledge base as they read, discuss, share, and apply key ideas and strategies to help K–8 English learners acquire the language and literacy skills needed to succeed academically.
  • Identifying and Supporting English Learner Students with Learning Disabilities: Key Issues in the Literature and State Practice (REL West, July 2015). This report aims to inform policymakers interested in developing procedures, including the use of guidelines and protocols, for identifying, assessing, and placing English learner students who may or may not have learning disabilities. The report describes 1) the key issues discussed in the research literature and 2) current state procedures for the 20 states with the largest English learner populations.
  • The Correlates of Academic Performance for English Language Learners in a New England District (REL Northeast and Islands, August 2014). This study examined student and program characteristics that are related to English proficiency and content area achievement for English language learner students in one urban district in New England. The study found that English learner students with individualized education programs had English proficiency scores significantly lower than the mean for all English learner students in all grades, and that students' English proficiency scores were associated with both math and reading performance in all grades.
  • The English Language Learner program survey for principals (REL Northeast and Islands, June 2014) The English Language Learner (ELL) Program Survey for Principals includes survey questions for state education agencies to use to collect data about: 1) school-level policies and practices for educating ELL students; 2) the types of professional development related to ELL education that principals have received and would like to receive; 3) principals' familiarity with state guidelines and standards for ELL student education; and 4) principals' beliefs about the education of ELL students.

Videos

Archived Webinars

  • Data-Driven Implementation of Tiered Interventions with English Learners, Session 1 (REL Northeast and Islands, February 1, 2018) This webinar is the first in a three-part training series for Connecticut educators on how to effectively implement response to intervention (RTI), or scientific research-based interventions (SRBI), with English learner students. Dr. Sarah Moore and Lindsey Massoud from the Center for Applied Linguistics provide background on RTI and English learners and offer strategies for and examples of implementing Tier 1 supports.
  • Including Ever-English Learner Students in Accountability and Continuous Improvement (REL Northeast and Islands, June 2017). The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) allows English learners reclassified as English proficient to be included as English learners for accountability purposes for up to four years after reclassification. Yet recent research indicates that looking at students who were ever classified as English learners—"ever-English learner students"—provides important information for states, districts, and schools. This webinar highlights two studies that use an ever-EL framework to examine graduation rates. Dr. Karen Thompson presents findings from Oregon, and Dr. Michael Kieffer presents a REL Northeast & Islands report that analyzed data from New York City public schools. Presenters explore the implications of using ever-English learners in both accountability and continuous improvement.
  • Studies on the Academic Progress of English Learners (REL Southwest, May 2017). English learner students face unique obstacles as they strive to master both the English language and academic content simultaneously. This webinar from Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Southwest spotlighted two recently released REL Northwest reports that examined English learner students' time to reclassification and advanced course enrollment and performance. The report authors discussed the key findings of each study, after which school practitioners shared their reflections on the findings' implications and applications. The webinar was designed for school, district, regional, state, and university educators who work with English learner students. The May 2017 webinar is archived in four videos.
    Video 1. Webinar Introduction
    Video 2. Time to Reclassification Study
    Video 3. Advanced Course Enrollment Study
    Video 4. Group Discussion
  • How Long Do English Learner Students Take to Reach English Proficiency? (REL Northeast and Islands, December 1, 2016). Dr. Michael Kieffer, associate professor of literacy education at New York University, presented findings from the recently published REL Northeast & Islands study, "Patterns of English Learner Student Reclassification in New York City Public Schools."
  • Supporting Long-Term English Learner Students in Mastering Academic English: A Framework for Success (REL West, November 16, 2016). Two presenters share promising practices and strategies to support long-term English learner students as they build their knowledge and use of academic English.
  • Helping Newcomer Students Succeed: Research on Programs and Practices (REL Northeast and Islands, November 3, 2016). The English Language Learners Alliance hosted a daylong exploration of the research on programs designed to meet the gaps in the educational backgrounds of newcomer students and strategies to support their academic and social growth
  • When English Learners Struggle Academically (REL West, September 20, 2016). In this REL West webinar, Dr. Julie Esparza Brown of Portland State University discusses how educators can determine if an English learner (EL) student's academic challenges are due to typical language development or a possible learning disability. Dr. Brown provides a case study of a 3rd grade EL student and provides helpful frameworks and tools for taking into account five key focus areas when evaluating an EL student for special education referral.
  • Early Warning Systems 401: Customizing Indicators and Interventions to Support English Language Learners (REL Northwest, REL Southwest, REL Pacific, and REL West, September 13, 2016). This webinar explored the research and promising practices on using Early Warning Systems to prevent dropout and increase the graduation rate of English learner students.
  • Lesson Development for English Learners in Content Area Settings: Key Considerations (REL Mid-Atlantic, June 23, 2016).This webinar gives professional support to teachers with limited training in meeting the language and content learning needs of EL students. Drawing from a comprehensive lesson plan template, Dr. Sarah Catherine K. Moore, Program Director at the Center for Applied Linguistics, outlines factors for content area teachers to consider as they design and deliver lessons for mainstream classrooms that include EL students.
  • Early Warning and Risk Prevention for English Learners (September 7, 2016). This webinar examines how early warning systems can be refined to target at-risk English learners (ELs). Learn about national perspectives on early warning systems as well as the experiences of eight districts with large EL populations and established early warning systems.
  • How to Design and Implement a Newcomer Program (REL Southwest, March 8, 2016). This event brought together experts to discuss issues of importance to those who work with newcomer students, newly arrived immigrant students who need to learn English. Topics included newcomer program models and design features, case study research examining family and community connections and partnerships in newcomer programs, and evidence-based practices for newcomers that districts are implementing.
  • Helping Newly Arrived Students Succeed: Research on Newcomer Programs and Practices (REL Southwest, March 8, 2016). This event brought together experts to discuss issues of importance to those who work with newcomer students, newly arrived immigrant students who need to learn English. Topics included newcomer program models and design features, case study research examining family and community connections and partnerships in newcomer programs, and evidence-based practices for newcomers that districts are implementing.
  • Mathematical Thinking and Communication: Access for English Learner Students (REL Northeast and Islands, December 8, 2015). Although many educators consider mathematics to be a "universal language" and assume that English learner students (ELs) can do well in math independent of language, research shows that the ability to understand math and reason mathematically is closely linked to language proficiency. This webinar presents current research findings that demonstrate the importance of language proficiency for math learning among ELs.
  • Building Capacity for School Success in Families of Young English Learner Students (REL West, September 30, 2015).This REL West archived webinar is Part Two of a two-part series and builds on Part One, "Structuring Meaningful Home-School Partnerships with Families of Young English Learner Students." It addresses the foundational knowledge of successful home-school partnerships also addressed in Part One and also discusses activities that can create a linguistically rich home and school environment to support young English learner students' school readiness.
  • Structuring Meaningful Home-School Partnerships With Families of Young English Learner Students (REL West, August 17, 2015). This webinar is Part One of a two-part series, and focuses on building effective partnerships between school and home that enhance the learning and language development of young English learner students. Two nationally known presenters and a practitioner share a research-based framework for family engagement and discuss learning goals for EL students and share promising practices for actively engaging families in this effort.
  • Building Biliteracy Instruction, Programs, and Services (July 27, 2015). This webinar explores evidence-based instructional programs and services to support biliteracy development among English learners in grades K–12. The webinar is in two parts.
  • Teaching Academic Content and Literacy to English Learners in Elementary and Middle School (November 10, 2014). This webinar—held Nov. 10, 2014, as a follow-up to a July conference—examines evidence-based strategies and recommendations for effective English language academic instruction. The webinar is in four parts:
  • Opening Remarks: Teaching Academic Content and Literacy to English Learners (REL Northeast and Islands, November 6, 2014). The English Language Learners Alliance at REL Northeast & Islands hosted this event drawing on the IES Practice Guide "Teaching Academic Content and Literacy to English Learners in Elementary and Middle School." Opening remarks from Deputy Director Rebecca Carey and Alliance Facilitator Maria-Paz Avery introduce the Regional Educational Laboratory Northeast & Islands and the English Language Learners Alliance.
  • Findings from Intervention Studies with English Learners (REL Southwest, July 22, 2014). The conference focused on the four recommendations in the new educator's practice guide, Teaching Academic Content and Literacy to English Learners in Elementary and Middle School, produced by the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) through the Institute of Education Sciences.
  • Effective Instruction of English Learners (REL Mid-Atlantic, March 25, 2014).This webinar offered participants an overview of the research on literacy for second language learners and strategies for instructing these students. Drawing from her research and experience, Dr. Esther Geva of the University of Toronto led a discussion of the skills and variables involved in teaching English learners.
  • MTSS: Toward a Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Model for English Learners (REL Northeast and Islands, December 12, 2013).Multi-Tiered Systems of Support that deliver high-quality, research-based instruction and interventions can support the growing English language learner population in general and in special education.
  • Academic Trajectories of English Language Learners and Former ELLs (REL Northeast and Islands, October 1, 2013). Dr. Rachel Slama discusses her findings on English language learners' proficiency in academic English and the different trajectories of US- and foreign-born ELLs toward achieving proficiency. Discussant Carrie Conaway also reflects on recent changes in Massachusetts in response to these and related findings.
  • English Language Learners and the Common Core State Standards (REL Northeast and Islands), November 28, 2012) The English Language Learners Alliance hosted a webinar on the implications of the Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards for English learners. Professor Kenji Hakuta—a leading researcher on bilingualism and second-language development at Stanford University—discussed the challenges and opportunities presented by the new standards, particularly for ELs.

Infographics

For more resources in ERIC on the topic of English Learners, click here.

For more resources in the What Works Clearinghouse on the topic of English Learners, click here.