Timing of Reclassification Key to ELL Dropout Rate

The National Center for Research on Evaluation,
Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST) at the University of
California, Los Angeles has released a new report comparing student
enrollment history, achievement gaps, and persistence in school of
English Language Learning (ELL) students to non-ELL students. The
results show large achievement and socioeconomic gaps.
A major question that arose is the difficulty of knowing when to exit
an ELL student. Another important issue is the difficulty in providing
sufficient English language proficiency (ELP) curriculum in mainstream
classrooms. The report hopes to curb detriment that may result from
reclassifying an ELL student earlier than necessary.
High school dropout rates are 25 percent for ELL students and 15
percent for non-ELL students. Also, among ELL students, academic
achievement and grade retention are stronger predictors than behavioral
issues or differences in background. These findings may suggest
that school persistence in the ELL population may be a different
process than for non-ELL students. Results show that after accounting
for academic achievement, behavioral issues, background, and
district contexts, the longer a student is designated as an ELL, the
more likely he or she is to drop out.
CRESST focuses on research that may improve the quality of
learning and education in the U.S. This report is part of a larger study
to assess the validity of states’ existing systems of reclassifying ELLs
in terms of gross consequences of reclassification. The motivation of
this project arises from the simple question of when to exit ELL students.
To download the full report, visit www.cse.ucla.edu