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ERIC Number: ED550464
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 139
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2678-4525-2
A Roadmap for True Accountability: Reconceptualizing Language-Learning Services, Reclassification Practices and Monitoring Systems for English Language Learners in U.S. Public Schools
Slama, Rachel B.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Harvard University
A major problem facing educators in the United States is how to determine when the nation's five million English language learners (ELL) are ready to exit language-learning programs, i.e. to be "reclassified" as fluent English proficient (R-FEP) and placed in mainstream classrooms without additional language support. No Child Left Behind mandates ELLs' participation in annual language proficiency and content-area assessments to ensure their constitutional right to a timely exit from language-learning programs and subsequent access to the mainstream curriculum. However, there is little evidence of the validity of current reclassification criteria and practices, and even less is known about the impact of reclassification on subsequent achievement. In this thesis, I conduct a pair of related studies to examine ELLs' tenure in and exit from language-learning programs in U.S. public schools as it relates to academic achievement. In the first study, I estimate the time-to and grade-of reclassification using 8 years of longitudinal data for the 2002-2003 kindergarten ELL cohort in one U.S. state (n = 5,354). Using discrete-time survival analysis (Singer & Willett, 2003), I found that the average ELL was reclassified within three years of school entry or by third grade, but the majority experienced later academic difficulties. More than half of reclassified students scored below proficient on content assessments and 22 percent were retained in grade. In the second study, I determined the predictive validity of a statewide language proficiency assessment on standardized tests for a cohort of ELLs who were third graders in 2008-2009 (n = 5,498) in the same U.S. state. I found that for advanced-proficient ELLs, there was a strong relationship between students' language proficiency and content performance (English language arts: r = 0.728; mathematics: r = 0.651). For students eligible for reclassification, their probability of being reclassified in practice increased by 10 percentage points. However, using an intent-to-treat quasi-experimental design, I found that reclassification did not translate into any improvements in academic achievement for students scoring at the margin of the eligibility threshold. Taken together, my findings suggest a need to re-conceptualize language-learning services and monitoring systems to target the development of ELLs' academic English and content-area achievement in U.S. public schools. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 3; Primary Education; Early Childhood Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001