Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Four-Year High School Graduation Rates among Five English Learner Student Subgroups

A new study examines four-year high school graduation rates for different subgroups of English learners (EL), based on their English proficiency and length of time as an EL student.

Although students who are English learners are at different levels of language mastery, there is little research about these students at the different stages of learning. A new study from Regional Educational Laboratory West addresses this gap by examining four-year high school graduation rates among five English learner student subgroups: long-term English learner students, new English learner students, recently proficient former English learner students, long-term proficient former English learner students, and never–English learner students.

The study also used the same sample of grade 9 students from Arizona to explore the extent to which certain student demographic characteristics and previous academic achievement explain variations in graduation rates across the subgroups.

Key findings include:

•    Never–English learner students had the highest four-year graduation rate, and long-term English learner students had the lowest. The earlier that English learner students achieved English proficiency, the higher their graduation rate;

•    Academic achievement prior to high school explained most of the differences in graduation rates across subgroups and may have been a key factor driving graduation outcomes; and

•    Long-term English learner students and new English learner students had the most difficulty graduating within four years of entering grade 9.

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