How long does it typically take English learner students to develop English language proficiency? And how does this time vary by student characteristics such as English proficiency at entry to kindergarten, gender, and home language? The answers to these questions can provide valuable information to districts and schools. Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Northwest in partnership with the Road Map Project undertook the study presented in this report to help its members understand more about their English learner student populations. The study examined English learner students who entered kindergarten between 2005/06 and 2011/12 in seven cohorts. It used a statistical model to estimate the time it would likely take English learner students in the seven Road Map Project districts to reach a grade-specific proficiency level on Washington's English language proficiency assessment and to be reclassified as former English learner students, regardless of whether they had been reclassified within the study period. The study also examined how this time differs for subgroups of students, taking into account student demographic characteristics and differences between cohorts and schools. This study has four primary findings: (1) Students who entered kindergarten as English learner students took a median of 3.8 years to develop the English proficiency necessary to be reclassified as former English learner students; (2) English learner students entering kindergarten with advanced English proficiency were more likely to be reclassified in their first eight years of school than those entering with basic proficiency (which includes beginning and advanced beginning) or intermediate proficiency; (3) Female English learner students were more likely than male English learner students to be reclassified in their first eight years of school; and (4) Speakers of Chinese, Vietnamese, or Russian or Ukrainian (combined) were more likely to be reclassified in their first eight years of school than speakers of Somali or Spanish. Data and methodology are appended.
ERIC DescriptorsClassification, English (Second Language), English Language Learners, Gender Differences, Kindergarten, Language Proficiency, Minority Group Students, Models, Native Language, Statistical Analysis, Student Characteristics, Student Diversity, Time
Northwest | Publication Type: Descriptive Study | Publication
Date: March 2016