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How do Algebra I course repetition rates vary among English learner students by length of time to reclassification as English proficient?

Region:
West
Description:
This study examines the variation in performance and course repetition among different English proficiency status student subgroups. Using data from one high school district in California and five of its seven feeder elementary school districts, the authors found that long-term English learner students who were never reclassified to English proficient have the highest rates of repeating algebra I at 67.5 percent, followed by long-term English learner students reclassified to English proficient after grade 6 at 58.6 percent, those who were never designated as English learner students at 44.2 percent, and finally English learner students reclassified before grade 7 at 30.2 percent. Among students who repeat algebra I, this study found that English learner students reclassified before grade 7 tended to perform the best, with 52.0 percent of these students earning an average grade of C or better when repeating. Higher proportions of these students also completed algebra II or higher with an average grade of C or better, at 20.4 percent. In comparison, long-term English learner students never reclassified and those reclassified to English proficient after grade 6 had the lowest rates of earning an average grade of C or better when repeating algebra I, and they had the lowest proportion of students to complete algebra II or higher with an average grade of C or better by grade 12. A similar ranking pattern was also observed among students who never repeated algebra I. These findings show that long-term English learner students and those reclassified to English proficient after grade 6 tend to struggle with algebra I in comparison to other students, and that English learner students reclassified before grade 7 tend to perform the best—even compared with students who were never classified as English learner students. Additional resources may need to be directed toward long-term English learner students and those reclassified after grade 6. Such resources can include differentiated support based on student needs before students enroll in the course as well as while they are enrolled in the course.
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Publication Date:
February 2017
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