How to Measure English Learners’ Development More Accurately



Under current policy, the more successful schools are in reclassifying their ELs, the more poorly their EL subgroup performance looks…This poses a problem for accountability because it provides faulty information about the performance of the EL subgroup on long-term outcomes.


Fortunately, there’s a straightforward fix to this problem. Congress could simply require that districts monitor former ELs beyond the current two years—all the way until graduation. Hopkins and her co-authors suggest doing this by creating a “Total English Learners” (TELs) subgroup. This new grouping would make it possible for states to disaggregate the achievement data of all current and former ELs, which would make it possible to see how different states’ approaches to educating ELs work across a longer time horizon.


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