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Home Publications Time to Reclassification: How Long Does It Take English Learner Students in Washington Road Map Districts to Develop English Proficiency?

Time to Reclassification: How Long Does It Take English Learner Students in Washington Road Map Districts to Develop English Proficiency?

by Jason Greenberg Motamedi

This Regional Educational Laboratory Northwest descriptive study examines how long it took English learner students to gain English proficiency and reclassify as former English learner students at elementary schools in seven Seattle-area school districts. Analyzing test scores of 17,733 students, the study found that the average time to reclassification as a former English learner student was 3.8 years. Students who entered elementary school in earlier grades were able to reclassify as former English learner students faster than their peers who enrolled in later grades; for example, students who entered in grades 3-5 took more than a year longer, on average, to become proficient when compared to students who entered at kindergarten. The following are appended: (1) Data and methodology; and (2) Supplemental data tables.

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This brief describes findings on the percentage of English learner students entering school in kindergarten in seven Washington school districts who developed the English proficiency necessary to be reclassified as former English learner students and the average time to reclassification. Eighty-five percent of English learner students who entered kindergarten between 2000/01 and 2007/08 achieved reclassification by 2012/13. It took those students an average of 3.2 years to be reclassified. Student characteristics--such as English proficiency at entry to kindergarten, gender, home language, country of birth, race/ethnicity, and special education status--were associated with reclassification. The results of this study can help school districts set realistic expectations for the time it takes English learner students to achieve English proficiency and may help state education agencies as they create new accountability targets to comply with the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015. [For the full report, see ED558159.] (227 KB)

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