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Pew Hispanic Center releases report on English Language Learners

Thursday, June 07, 2007

  • Organization: Pew Hispanic Center
  • Source: CALegalAdvocates > CALegalAdvocates.org

Pew Hispanic Center releases report on English Language Learners

The fast-growing number of students designated as English language learners (ELLs) are among the farthest behind in reading and math, according to an analysis by the Pew Hispanic Center that is based on standardized test scores.

The study finds that as a group, 8th grade English language learners are roughly 50 percentage points behind whites in reading and math. In 4th grade, the gap is 47 percentage points in reading and 35 percentage points in math.

Under the No Child Left Behind legislation, which is due for reauthorization this year, English language learners must be proficient in math and reading by 2014. The study compares the scores of English language learners to those of white, black and Hispanic students and produces a measure of how much improvement ELLs will need to meet federal mandates.

An analysis of demographic data for the nation and for some states also explains why there is a decline in achievement among English language learners from elementary school to middle school. While many students acquire English language skills and are no longer classified as ELL, newly-arrived immigrants are added to the group and that affects the overall scores.

The findings are based on the 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as the "Nation's Report Card." The study also examines data from testing programs administered individually by many states, which confirm the findings derived from the NAEP. Tables in the appendix include a breakdown for most states that charts the achievement gap between English language learners and their white counterparts.

The report, How Far Behind in Math and Reading are English Language Learners, is available on the Pew Hispanic Center's website.

The Pew Hispanic Center, an initiative of the Pew Research Center, is a non-partisan, non-advocacy research organization based in Washington, D.C. and is funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

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