Identifying Success in Schools and Programs for English Language

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Learning English/Learning Content:
Challenges of Policy and Practice in the Education of
English Language Learners in Massachusetts
Presentation at Wheelock College, February 9, 2012
Miren Uriarte, PhD. Gaston Institute, UMass Boston
BACKGROUND
Impact Of Question 2
Federal Intervention And An Initiative For Change
The Study
2
Enrollment of
English Language Learners
BPS Enrollment, SY2009
ALL
#
%
15.0%
58,597
100
10.0%
English
Proficient (EP)
47,267
Limited English
Proficient
(LEP, ELL)
11,690
80.2
Change in BPS Enrollment,
SY2006-2009
12.3%
5.0%
0.0%
19.8
-5.0%
-3.9%
-7.3%
-10.0%
All BPS
EP
LEP
3
Characteristics of ELLs, SY2009
EP
47,267
Total Enrollment
Gender (% Male)
Low Income
Race/Ethnicity Asian
Mobile
SWD
72.0%
11,690
53.6%
87.3%
7.0%
14.8%
42.4%
20.4%
59.4%
4.4%
12.9%
18.7%
51.5%
Black
Latino
White
LEP
32.9%
15.2%
8.0%
19.5%
4
Native Languages of ELLs, SY2009
LEP
Total Enrollment
11,690
Native Language
Spanish
Haitian Creole
Cape Verdean Creole
Chinese Languages
Vietnamese
Portuguese
Somali
Other languages
56.6%
9.0%
8.2%
7.8%
6.1%
2.2%
2,1%
8.1%
5
The Good News:
Decline in the LEP Dropout Rate
Annual HS Dropout Rate of ELLs. BPS, SY2006-2009
14.0%
12.0%
12.0%
11.3%
10.0%
8.6%
8.0%
6.6%
6.0%
4.0%
2.0%
0.0%
SY2006
SY2007
SY2008
SY2009
6
The Good News
Improvement in MCAS Outcomes
ELA Pass Rates, Gr 4, 8, 10.
SY2006-2009
Math Pass Rates, Gr 4, 8 and 10
SY2006-2009
80.0%
70.0%
60.0%
50.0%
40.0%
30.0%
20.0%
10.0%
0.0%
4th
8th
4th
10th
SY2006
8th
SY2007
SY2008
10th
SY2009 7
FOCUS TONIGHT:
Taking English Proficiency Into Account
8
Distribution of MEPA Performance
Levels Among ELLs. BPS, SY2009
35.0%
32.0%
30.0%
29.7%
25.0%
20.0%
15.0%
10.7%
14.7%
12.9%
10.0%
5.0%
0.0%
Proportion at each English Proficiency Level (MEPA)
Level 1
Level 2
Level 3
Level 4
Level 5
9
Taking English proficiency into account:
Academic English (MCAS ELA Outcomes)
MCAS ELA Pass Rates for ELLs at Different Levels of English Proficiency.
BPS, SY2009
GRADE 8
GRADE 10
GRADE 4
ELA
EPs
All LEPs
79.9%
61.6%
92.2%
55.6%
95.2%
72.6%
10
Taking English proficiency into account:
Acquiring Academic English
MCAS ELA Pass Rates for ELLs at Different Levels of English Proficiency.
BPS, SY2009
GRADE 8
GRADE 10
GRADE 4
ELA
EPs
All LEPs
MEPA Level 1
MEPA Level 2
MEPA Level 3
79.9%
61.6%
0.0%
8.6%
20.2%
92.2%
55.6%
5.6%
15.5%
44.2%
95.2%
72.6%
25.0%
50.0%
61.2%
11
Taking English proficiency into account:
Acquiring Academic English
MCAS ELA Pass Rates for ELLs at Different Levels of English Proficiency.
BPS, SY2009
GRADE 8
GRADE 10
GRADE 4
ELA
EPs
All LEPs
MEPA Level 1
MEPA Level 2
MEPA Level 3
MEPA Level 4
MEPA Level 5
79.9%
61.6%
0.0%
8.6%
20.2%
66.9%
94.7%
92.2%
55.6%
5.6%
15.5%
44.2%
83.3%
89.8%
95.2%
72.6%
25.0%
50.0%
61.2%
92.6%
98.7%
12
Taking English Proficiency into Account:
Content Knowledge in Math and Science.
MCAS Math and Science Pass Rates for ELLs at Different Levels
of English Proficiency. BPS, SY2009
GRADE 4
GRADE 8
GRADE 10
61.5%
31.6%
3.7%
15.2%
27.1%
39.6%
61.7%
89.7%
76.3%
69.2%
75.0%
69.7%
84.7%
86.7%
54.0%
17.7%
0%
13.7%
20.4%
48.3%
82.4%
59.2%
41.7%
52.1%
75.4%
84.2%
MATH
EPs
All LEPs
MEPA Level 1
MEPA Level 2
MEPA Level 3
MEPA Level 4
MEPA Level 5
79.9%
69.7%
23.1%
22.2%
40.6%
75.5%
94.2%
SCIENCE
EPs
All LEPs
MEPA Level 1
MEPA Level 2
MEPA Level 3
MEPA Level 4
MEPA Level 5
NA
13
Taking English Proficiency into Account:
Dropping Out
Annual High School Dropout Rate of LEPs at Different Levels of English Proficiency.
BPS, SY2009
Annual H.S.
Dropout Rate
EP
LEP
7.0%
6.6%
LEP MEPA Test Takers1
Level 1
Level 2
Level 3
Level 4
9.2%
7.4%
5.3%
2.9%
14
How Long To Academic English Proficiency?
SY2009
Grade 3 Cohort
N=131
Graduated
-
FLEP’ed
0%
MEPA Level 5
9.3%
MEPA Level 4
26.7%
MEPA Level 3
22.9%
MEPA Level 2
4.6%
MEPA Level 1
4.6%
Not Tested
Transferred Out
23.7%
Dropped Out
Aged-Out
NA
15
How Long To Academic English Proficiency?
SY2009
Grade 3 Cohort
N=131
Grade 6 Cohort
N=93
Graduated
-
-
0%
4.8%
MEPA Level 5
9.3%
0%
MEPA Level 4
26.7%
7.5%
MEPA Level 3
22.9%
41.9%
MEPA Level 2
4.6%
11.8%
MEPA Level 1
4.6%
6.5%
23.7%
14.3%
FLEP’ed
Not Tested
Transferred Out
Dropped Out
Aged-Out
3.4%
NA
NA
16
How Long To Academic English Proficiency?
SY2009
Graduated
FLEP’ed
MEPA Level 5
MEPA Level 4
MEPA Level 3
MEPA Level 2
MEPA Level 1
Not Tested
Transferred Out
Grade 3 Cohort
N=131
Grade 6 Cohort
N=93
Grade 9 Cohort
N=328
0%
9.3%
26.7%
22.9%
4.6%
4.6%
4.8%
0%
7.5%
41.9%
11.8%
6.5%
3.0%
1.2%
5.2%
9.1%
16.8%
3.0%
2.1%
23.7%
14.3%
25.3%
3.4%
23.2%
NA
4.6%
Dropped Out
Aged-Out
NA
17
Testing ELLs: Federal / State Policy
Question 1:
Should ELLs be tested using the MCAS before they reach a level of
English proficiency that allows them to show what they “know and can
do” as required by law?
Evidence from this study
 ELLs with low levels of
English proficiency do not
have the level of academic
English to show “what thet
know and can do”
 ELLs require more than 3
years to reach MEPA Levels
4 & 5.
18
Testing ELLs: Federal / State Policy
Question 1:
Should ELLs be tested using the MCAS before they reach a level of
English proficiency that allows them to show what they “know and can
do” as required by law?
Evidence from this study
 ELLs with low levels of
English proficiency do not
have the level of academic
English to show “what thet
know and can do”
 ELLs require more than 3
years to reach MEPA Levels
4 & 5.
Federal Policy
 ELLs tested after 1 year in
the US
 Federal regulations allow
“assessments in the
language and form most
likely to yield accurate
data on which such
students know and can do
in academic content
areas”.
19
Testing ELLs: Federal / State Policy
Question 1:
Should ELLs be tested using the MCAS before they reach a level of
English proficiency that allows them to show what they “know and can
do” as required by law?
Evidence from this study
 ELLs with low levels of
English proficiency do not
have the level of academic
English to show “what thet
know and can do”
 ELLs require more than 3
years to reach MEPA Levels
4 & 5.
Federal Policy
 ELLs tested after 1 year in
the US
 Federal regulations allow
“assessments in the
language and form most
likely to yield accurate
data on which such
students know and can do
in academic content
areas”.
State Policy
• ELLs tested in ELA after 1
year in the US
• Only accommodation in
Math testing is the use of
a dictionary
• No alternative
assessments have been
developed
20
Testing ELLs: Federal / State Policy
Question 2:
Should testing outcomes be reported for ELLs before they reach a level
of English proficiency that allows them to show “what they know and
can do”?
Evidence from this study
Reporting testing results in the
aggregate
a. Confounds the measurement of
achievement with that of language
proficiency
b. Creates an “image of failure”
about ELLs
21
Testing ELLs: Federal / State Policy
Question 2:
Should testing outcomes be reported for ELLs before they reach a level
of English proficiency that allows them to show “what they know and
can do”?
Evidence from this study
Reporting testing results in the
aggregate
a. Confounds the measurement of
achievement with that of language
proficiency
b. Creates an “image of failure”
about ELLs
Federal Policy
Requires reporting in the
aggregate
State Policy
Requires reporting in the
aggregate
22
Language of Instruction of ELLs
and Federal / State Policy
Question 3:
Should ELLs be provided instruction in content areas at grade level in a
language that they can comprehend?
Evidence from this study

Most ELLs require more than 3 years to
reach a level of proficiency that provides
grade-level access to academic content.

Barriers in use of challenging curriculum
in language intensive subjects such as
science and social studies.
a. Most content instruction is in
English
b. Insufficient training for teachers
23
Language of Instruction of ELLs
and Federal / State Policy
Question 3:
Should ELLs be provided instruction in content areas at grade level in a
language that they can comprehend?
Evidence from this study

Most ELLs require more than 3 years to
reach a level of proficiency that provides
grade-level access to academic content.

Barriers in use of challenging curriculum
in language intensive subjects such as
science and social studies.
a. Most content instruction is in
English
b. Insufficient training for teachers
Federal Policy
No specific
requirement
24
Language of Instruction of ELLs
and Federal / State Policy
Question 3:
Should ELLs be provided instruction in content areas at grade level in a
language that they can comprehend?
Evidence from this study

Most ELLs require more than 3 years
to reach a level of proficiency that
provides grade-level access to
academic content.

Unable to present challenging, grade
level curriculum in language intensive
subjects such as humanities, science
and social studies. All instruction
must be in English.
Federal Policy
No specific
requirement
State Policy
Chapter 386 requires all
instruction in English except in
programs (such as 2-way
programs) developed as a
result of parental waiver of
SEI
25
RECOMMENDATIONS
 Improve understanding of English language acquisition among policy-makers,
educators, parents, students and the public at large.
 Introduce appropriate accommodations in testing –
o no testing before 3 years in US or before attaining
MEPA Performance Level 4
o provide alternative (and multiple) measures of
achievement so that ELLs can show what they
“know and can do” in academic content areas,
as required by law.
 Increase flexibility in programming
o Student centered
o At a minimum, amend Mass Chapter 386 to allow
for content instruction in the native language of low
proficiency middle school and high school entrants
26
HTTP://WWW.UMB.EDU/GASTONINSTITUTE
27
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