Poster Paper: Time to Proficiency for English Learner Students in Texas

Friday, November 3, 2017
Regency Ballroom (Hyatt Regency Chicago)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Rachel Slama, Ayrin Molefe, Dean Gerdeman, Angelica Herrera, Iliana Brodziak de los Reyes, Diane August and Linda Cavazos, American Institutes for Research

Under the Every Student Succeeds Act, states are required to develop and apply a uniform procedure for setting long-term goals and measurements of interim progress for increases in the percentages of English learner (EL) students making progress toward attaining English proficiency (Section 1111(c)(4)(A)(ii)). These measures will form part of the statewide school-level accountability system. Stakeholders nationwide will be tasked with setting “reasonable but challenging” expectations for the time it takes EL students to attain English proficiency and meet state content standards in reading and mathematics. To accomplish this task, national EL and accountability experts recommend state leaders use their existing data on EL students to determine goals for progress and attainment of English proficiency (Goldschmidt & Hakuta, 2017).

Building on a longitudinal data set constructed from eight years of Texas Education Agency administrative data, this Regional Educational Laboratory Southwest study provides an example of the use of state historical data to inform realistic expectations for progress toward and attainment of English proficiency. Appropriate and empirically grounded language proficiency and academic achievement expectations for EL students are particularly salient in Texas, where schools serve 16.4 percent of the country’s EL students (U.S. Department of Education, 2016).

We employed discrete-time survival analysis to examine the average time it took the 2005–06 cohort of grade 1 Hispanic EL students in Texas public schools to attain English language proficiency and to demonstrate at least satisfactory academic performance in reading and mathematics, as measured by state assessments. We examined whether the time it took students to attain these key outcomes differed by enrollment in a public prekindergarten program, initial English language proficiency, the type of EL program (English as a second language or bilingual), whether a parent opted the student out of EL services, and student background characteristics (gender, whether a student was eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, immigrant status, and whether a student received special education services).

Study findings will be presented contingent upon approval from the Institute of Education Sciences.