New National Study Includes a Focus on California, Colorado, Illinois, and North Carolina
WASHINGTON -- While overall enrollment in U.S. public schools remained steady over the past ten years, enrollment of students who are limited English proficient (LEP) increased dramatically. Between 1995 and 2005, the total PreK-12 enrollment in U.S. public schools nationally grew by only 2.6 percent. LEP enrollment grew by 56 percent during the same period. Of the 48.9 million students enrolled in public PreK-12 schools in the 2004-2005 academic year, 5.1 million students, or about one in ten, were identified as limited English proficient.
Measures of Change: The Demography and Literacy of Adolescent English Learners, a new report from the Migration Policy Institute’s National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy, provides a demographic profile of the students in grades 6-12 who are LEP (or English Language Learners, i.e., ELLs).
Authors Jeanne Batalova, Michael Fix and Julie Murray also focus on how adolescent ELL students are faring on standardized tests at the national level and in four states: California, Colorado, Illinois, and North Carolina. They analyze data from the 2005 National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), known as the “Nation’s Report Card,” and state tests from 2005. The report concentrates on 8th grade, a critical year in determining whether students will eventually drop out of school.
The authors find that:
“The gaps documented here represent tough challenges for schools striving to meet standards under the No Child Left Behind Act, which requires that all students, including LEP students, be proficient in reading and math by 2014,” said author Michael Fix.
“There is also good news here,” said Jeanne Batalova. “It appears that once many students overcome language barriers, they do as well on tests as their native, English-speaking peers. However, this pattern begs the question of what instructional or other factors help these children succeed, while others do not. ”
The report, available here, is part of a series for the Carnegie Corporation of New York by MPI and others on adolescent literacy.
Figure 1. Average Scores of 8th Graders in Reading by English Proficiency: NAEP, 1998-2005
Source: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 2005 Reading Assessments. Scores of former LEP students were only available for 2005.
Figure 2. Average Scores of 8th Graders in Math by English Proficiency: NAEP, 1996-2005
Source: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 2005 Math Assessments. Scores of former LEP students were only available for 2005.
Highlights from the Four Focus States:
The authors analyze a number of data sources, including the Census, the National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition and Language Instruction Educational Programs (NCELA), and State Report Cards to profile ELL adolescent students and explore their progress in the four study states.
Highlights of the report’s findings on California's students include:
Highlights of the report’s findings on Colorado's students include:
Highlights of the report’s findings on Illinois' students include:
Highlights of the report’s findings on North Carolina's students include: