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English language development among American Indian English learner students in New Mexico

Region:
Southwest
Abstract:

Description: New Mexico's Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) state plan sets the goal for all English learner students to attain English proficiency within five years. This study was developed with members of the REL Southwest English Learners Research Partnership in New Mexico to better understand the progress toward English proficiency among American Indian English learner students. American Indian students comprise approximately 17 percent of English learner students in New Mexico and may have unique educational needs and challenges in English language development. This study will provide longitudinal evidence on progress toward English proficiency and grade-level readiness in English language arts and mathematics in the early grades among a population of American Indian English learner students in New Mexico.

New Mexico educators and government leaders have also prioritized developing student proficiency in two or more languages. The New Mexico Public Education Department provides funding for schools to offer bilingual multicultural education programs for English learner students, including programs focused on Native American heritage languages. This study will examine the extent to which American Indian English learner students were served by schools that offered a bilingual multicultural education program and whether students in these schools were more or less likely to be reclassified as English proficient and attain grade-level readiness.

The findings from this study will help REL Southwest partners identify language domains and grade levels in which American Indian English learner students may benefit from additional support and inform plans and guidelines for multicultural bilingual education programs serving American Indian students.

Research Questions:

  1. What percentage of American Indian students classified as English learner students in kindergarten attained English proficiency and were reclassified as fluent English proficient within five years?
  2. What percentage of American Indian students classified as English learner students in kindergarten demonstrated grade-level readiness in English language arts and mathematics within five years?
  3. What percentage of American Indian students classified as English learner students in kindergarten were enrolled in a school that offered a bilingual multicultural education program?
  4. Were American Indian English learner students enrolled in schools that offered a bilingual multicultural education program more likely than students enrolled in schools that did not offer this program to be reclassified as English proficient and demonstrate grade-level readiness within five years?

Study Design: The study will examine two statewide cohorts of American Indian students classified as English learner students in kindergarten during the 2013/14 and 2014/15 school years in New Mexico public schools. The study will follow these students longitudinally for four years after the first kindergarten year. REL Southwest researchers will use descriptive statistics to examine students' English language development in the areas of listening, speaking, reading, and writing; grade-level readiness based on the state achievement test; and the percentage of students who were reclassified as fluent English proficient within five years. The researchers will use regression analysis to estimate the relationship between enrollment in a school with a bilingual multicultural education program and reclassification and grade-level readiness among the American Indian English learner students.

Projected Release Data: Fall 2021

Research Alliance: REL Southwest English Learners Partnership

Study Related Products: Making Connections report

Principal Investigators & Affiliation:

Ginger Stoker, American Institutes for Research
Brenda Arellano, American Institutes for Research