HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR ENGLISH LEARNERS TO BE RECLASSIFIED AS ENGLISH PROFICIENT?
MetadataShow full item record
English Learners (ELs) constitute one of the fastest growing student populations enrolled in K–12 schools. One important factor influencing the academic achievement of ELs is attaining English language proficiency (ELP). Once ELs attain ELP, they are reclassified as English proficient. In practice, exiting or reclassify ELs indicates that they no longer need or receive specialized language supports or regular monitoring using ELP assessments. Reclassification is a high-stakes decision. A change from an EL to a non-EL status may impact state and federal funding. Some federal and state funds are allocated based on the per-pupil count of ELs enrolled in a school district. Understanding the relationships between reclassification policies, reclassification rates, and reclassified student outcomes is necessary to make decisions about resources and expectations for ELs. This study explored the population of ELs in one state and addressed the following research questions: 1. How long does it take ELs to be reclassified as English proficient based on the criteria established by the New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED)? 2. Does the probability of reclassification vary by grade cluster when first enrolled in the state’s public schools? 3. How do select individual student-level and family-level characteristics impact the probability of reclassification for students in the same grade cluster or who have been ELs for the same amount of time? The analytical sample consisted of ELs who started school for the first time in SY 2010-11 (Cohort 1) or in SY 2011-12 (Cohort 2) and who were continually enrolled during the observation period ending in SY 2015-16. The sample included students enrolled in all grades K-12; no new students were added to the analytical sample. The data were analyzed using a discrete survival analysis. The results indicated that ELs starting school in grades K-8, took on the average of four years to achieve ELP. ELs starting school in upper grades were reclassified faster than ELs who starting in Kindergarten. ELs identified as Hispanic or Latino, received free or reduced lunch, and receiving Special Education services had longer median times to ELP than their peers.