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ERIC Number: EJ823716
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Nov
Pages: 18
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0022-0663
Catching up or Falling behind? Initial English Proficiency, Concentrated Poverty, and the Reading Growth of Language Minority Learners in the United States
Kieffer, Michael J.
Journal of Educational Psychology, v100 n4 p851-868 Nov 2008
This study contrasts growth trajectories in English reading for 2 groups of language minority (LM) learners--those who enter kindergarten with limited oral English proficiency and those who enter kindergarten proficient in oral English--with that of native English speakers. Fitting a multilevel model for change to longitudinal data on a nationally representative sample, this study examines students' growth trajectories from kindergarten through 5th grade. Three noteworthy findings emerge. First, LM learners entering kindergarten proficient in English have trajectories similar to those of native English speakers, but LM learners entering kindergarten with limited English have trajectories that diverge from those of native English speakers, yielding large differences in achievement by the 5th grade. Second, controlling for demographic risk factors, including socioeconomic status (SES), reduces the effect of initial English proficiency from large to moderate and yields differences that narrow over time. Finally, these differences depend on school poverty, with smaller differences evident among students in high-poverty schools than among students in low-poverty schools. Results emphasize the need for academic interventions for LM learners who enter school with limited English proficiency.
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Early Childhood Education; Elementary Education; Elementary Secondary Education; Grade 5; Kindergarten
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
IES Cited: ED559979