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ERIC Number: ED550098
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013-May-1
Pages: 68
Abstractor: As Provided
Reclassifying and Not Reclassifying English Learners to Fluent English Proficient, Year 1 Findings: Factors Impeding and Facilitating Reclassification and Access to the Core
Estrada, Peggy; Wang, Haiwen
Grantee Submission, Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (San Francisco, CA, Apr 27-May 1, 2013)
For English learners (ELs), reclassifying to fluent English proficient (RFEP) signifies reaching a milestone indicating the ability to function in mainstream classes without support. Little is known about the discrepancy between the number of ELs who meet reclassification criteria and the number who are reclassified as fluent English proficient, the factors that impede and facilitate reclassification, and the consequences for access to the core curriculum of continuing EL status or reclassifying. We investigated these questions among ELs in grades 3 through 9 in two school districts with a multimethod design using student administrative data, policy documents, and staff interviews. Despite major differences in the stringency of RFEP criteria, about a fifth of ELs met criteria in both districts. Although the majority of students meeting all criteria were RFEP, a substantial number were not. Key impediments included teacher recommendations to not reclassify; ambiguous criteria; inadequate knowledge of the reclassification process and criteria among staff, students, and parents; divergent philosophies among staff regarding RFEPing; requiring that criteria be met in alignment; timing of assessments; and lack of quality instruction that addresses both English language development and access to the core needs. Continuing EL status at the secondary level typically restricted access to the academic core, the full curriculum, and non-EL peers. The findings demonstrate that EL status is defined by district and school context, within broad state guidelines. An EL who in one district, or even a particular school, garners the mantle of success that reclassification signifies might, in another context, instead become a long-term EL and garner the negative mantle of failure. Taken together, the findings raise concerns about the consequences for fairness, equity, and opportunity to learn of current state policy guided by local control. On a positive note, many impediments to reclassification and access are within districts' and schools' control and therefore changeable.
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Secondary Education; Grade 3; Grade 4; Grade 5; Grade 6; Grade 7; Grade 8; Grade 9
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Institute of Education Sciences (ED)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California
IES Funded: Yes
Grant or Contract Numbers: R305A110512