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School- and Student-Level Factors Associated with Academic Outcomes for English Learners in an Urban Midwest School District

Region:
Midwest
Abstract:

Description: The Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) has witnessed three changes to its student population over the last six years: (1) the number of students enrolled in the district has decreased by 12 percent, (2) the number of English learner students has increased by 45 percent, and (3) the number of English learner students who speak a language other than Spanish has increased. Members of the Cleveland Partnership for English Learner Success representing the school district have expressed a need to better understand the district's English learner student population, the programs that serve this population, and whether different programs or supports are related to academic outcomes. Such information can help the district to allocate its resources to those supports that are associated with the academic success of English learner students.

The study will examine six consecutive cross-sections of English learner students in CMSD in grades 3–8 from school years 2011/12 through 2016/17. The study will summarize the characteristics of the students and the features of the schools they attend, then examine the correlations between student and school characteristics and student performance on state assessments.

Research Questions:

  1. What are the characteristics of English learner students in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) and the schools they attended over the last six years?
    1. What are the characteristics of English learner students in CMSD in terms of household language, racial and ethnic group membership, special education status, gifted status, gender, age, grade, and time since district enrollment?
    2. What are the characteristics of schools that they attend in terms of program type (newcomer academy, bilingual or Structured English Immersion), ratio of certified English as a second language (ESL) teachers and that of of bilingual paraprofessionals to English learner students, number and proportion of English learner students in the school, overall school size, school student demographic composition, student reports of school climate, and school average achievement?
  2. What are the cross-sectional descriptive patterns of English learner student achievement outcomes over the last six years for students in grades 3–8?
    1. What are the patterns of mathematics and English language arts (ELA) achievement scores?
    2. What are the patterns of English language proficiency scores?
  3. Which student characteristics and school-level factors are associated with English learner student achievement outcomes?

Study Design: The first research question will be answered by summarizing the characteristics of the English learner student population and the schools they attend by year.
The second research question will be answered using descriptive statistics to summarize average student performance for each of the six cross-sectional samples of English learner students in grades 3–8 across the six years.
The third research question will be answered through a series of regression models that estimate the associations between student performance during the 2016/17 school year with student background characteristics and school-level factors.

Projected Release Date: Spring 2019

Partnership or Research Alliance: Cleveland Partnership for English Learner Success (CLE-PELS)

Related Products: Making Connections report
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Principal Investigators & Affiliation:
Rachel Garrett, American Institutes for Research
Elizabeth Davis, American Institutes for Research
Contact: