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Home Publications Patterns of English learner student reclassification in New York City public schools
With the rapid growth in the number of English learner students served by schools in the United States, educators are increasingly concerned with how these students progress toward proficiency in English. The large and diverse English learner student population in New York City public schools, where more than 41 percent of students speak a language other than English at home, provides a unique opportunity to investigate how long it takes for English learner students to become reclassified as former English learner students. This study was conducted at the request of the English Language Learners Alliance at the Regional Educational Laboratory Northeast & Islands to better understand variation in English language acquisition patterns among English learners. It followed seven student cohorts for periods ranging from two to nine years, through the 2011/12 school year. The first student cohort followed in the study entered school in 2003/04 and was followed for nine years; the last cohort entered in 2010/11 and was followed for two years. The study drew on longitudinal administrative data in order to provide descriptive evidence on the time that English learner students take to become reclassified and in order to shed light on student characteristics that were associated with longer or shorter times to reclassification as former English learner students. Key findings include the following: (1) Slightly more than half the students who entered kindergarten in New York City public schools as English learner students were reclassified within four years (by the end of their expected grade 3 year). A quarter of students were not reclassified within six years and thus became long-term English learner students; (2) The median time to reclassification for English learner students who entered school in grade 6 or 7 was about a year longer than that of English learner students who entered in kindergarten; (3) The median time to reclassification was three years for English learner students with above average initial English proficiency and nearly five years for English learner students with below average initial English proficiency, among students entering at any grade; and (4) The median time to reclassification for English learner students with specific learning disabilities was about four years longer than that of their peers without disabilities, and the median time to reclassification for students with speech or language impairments was two years longer than that of students without these impairments, among students entering at any grade. The following are appended: (1) Review of the literature on time to reclassify English learner students as former English learner students; (2) Study sample; (3) Analytic approach; (4) Measures used to create initial English proficiency and reclassification variables; (5) Fitted model estimates for key findings; and (6) Supplemental analyses and results incorporating additional control variables.
ERIC DescriptorsClassification, Disabilities, English Language Learners, Grade 3, Grade 6, Grade 7, Kindergarten, Language Impairments, Language Proficiency, Learning Disabilities, Public Schools, Speech Impairments, Student Characteristics, Time
Northeast & Islands | Publication Type: Descriptive Study | Publication
Date: October 2016
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