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ERIC Number: ED502050
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jun-26
Pages: 34
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 14
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
The Role of Schools in the English Language Learner Achievement Gap
Fry, Richard
Pew Hispanic Center
Students designated as English language learners (ELL) tend to go to public schools that have low standardized test scores. However, these low levels of assessed proficiency are not solely attributable to poor achievement by ELL students. These same schools report poor achievement by other major student groups as well, and have a set of characteristics associated generally with poor standardized test performance such as high student-teacher ratios, high student enrollments and high levels of students living in or near poverty. When ELL students are not isolated in these low-achieving schools, their gap in test score results is considerably narrower, according to newly available standardized testing data for public schools in the five states with the largest numbers of ELL students. Most of the report's findings are based on analyses using three U.S. Department of Education databases. The analysis of mathematics performance on state-designed assessments across different types of public schools utilizes the new National Longitudinal School-Level State Assessment Score Database (NLSLSASD), which maintains state standardized assessment test results for every public school in a state. Using the NLSLSASD's standardized testing results by subgroup, the analysis illuminates the potential role of school isolation in student test score performance. This report builds on previous findings by illustrating that the educational isolation of ELL students is associated with the math proficiency gap between English language learners and other students. It also shows that white and black students who attend the public schools in which ELL students are concentrated are doing worse than their peers who attend public schools with few English language learner students. Other key findings include: (1) Nationally, the English language learner student population is expected to grow rapidly; (2) In the five states with large ELL student populations, the proportion of ELL students scoring at or above the proficient level on the state mathematics test is often below the proportion of black students scoring at or above the proficient level; (3) In both elementary grades and middle school grades in these states, ELL students are less likely than white students to score at or above the proficient level in mathematics, with measured gaps in double-digits; (4) ELL students who took the state mathematics assessment were concentrated in the public schools required to publicly disclose ELL testing results; (5) In the five states with large ELL student populations, the public schools in which ELL test-takers are concentrated are more likely to be central city schools; (6) Public schools in which ELL test-takers are concentrated have a higher enrollment, on average, than other public schools in the state; (7) Middle schools in which ELL test-takers are concentrated have, on average, higher student-to-teacher ratios than other public schools in the state; (8) Public schools in which ELL test-takers are concentrated have, on average, a greater proportion of students qualifying for free or reduced-price school lunches; and (9) Public schools in which English language learner students are concentrated are more likely to be designated Title I schools. Data sources and additional tables are appended. (Contains 11 footnotes, 14 figures, and 7 tables.
Pew Hispanic Center. 1615 L Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20036-5610. Tel: 202-419-3600; Fax: 202-419-3608; Web site: http://pewhispanic.org/reports/
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Pew Charitable Trusts
Authoring Institution: Pew Hispanic Center