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Educational policy analysis archives
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Educational policy analysis archives.
n Vol. 14, no. 20 (August 15, 2006).
Tempe, Ariz. :
b Arizona State University ;
Tampa, Fla. :
University of South Florida.
c August 15, 2006
Federal, state, and district level English language learner program entry and exit requirements : effects on the education of language minority learners / Alex Ragan, Ed.M. [and] Nonie Lesaux, Ph.D..
x Research
v Periodicals.
2 710
Arizona State University.
University of South Florida.
1 773
t Education Policy Analysis Archives (EPAA)
4 856


Readers are free to copy display, and distribute this article, as long as the work is attributed to the author(s) and Education Policy Analysis Archives, it is distributed for noncommercial purposes only, and no alte ration or transformation is made in the work. More details of this Creative Commons license are available at All other uses must be approved by the author(s) or EPAA EPAA is published jointly by the Mary Lou Fulton College of Education at Arizona State Universi ty and the University of South Florida College of Education. Articles are inde xed by H.W. Wilson & Co. Plea se contribute commentary at and send errata notes to Sherman Dorn ( EDUCATION POLICY ANALYSIS ARCHIVES A peer-reviewed scholarly journal Editor: Sherman Dorn College of Education University of South Florida Volume 14 Number 20 August 15, 2006 ISSN 1068 Federal, State, and District Le vel English Language Learner Program Entry and Exit Requirements: Effects on the Education of Language Minority Learners Alex Ragan, Ed.M. Course Crafters, Inc. Nonie Lesaux, Ph.D. Harvard Graduate School of Education Citation: Ragan, A., & Lesaux, N. (2006). Federal, state, and district level English language learner program entry and exit requirements: Effects on the education of language minority learners. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 14 (20). Retrieved [date] from http://epaa.asu.ed u/epaa/v14n20/. Abstract Identification of a language minority learner for placement in a program for English Language Learners (ELLs), and the length of the support program, may have a significant effect on the studen ts academic achiev ement. Widespread anecdotal evidence suggests that criteria used to make placem ent decisions vary widely across the U.S. This study systemat ically examines related federal laws and guidance, as well as published entry and exit criteria fo r ELL programs for the 10 states and 10 districts in the U.S. with the largest enrollment of ELLs. For the majority of placement decisions, a measure of English language proficiency is used. Very few states and districts rely on multiple sources of information for these decisions. The ramifications of these findings are discussed in lig ht of the language and content demands of th e mainstream classroom.


Education Policy Analysis Archives Vol. 14 No. 20 2 Keywords: language minority learners; En glish language learne rs; classification; educational programs. Requisitos de entrada y de salida a nivel federal, estata l y distrital para estudiantes de ingls: Ef ectos sobre la educacin de los estudiantes de minoras lingsticas. Resumen La identificacin de estudiantes de minor as lingsticas para ser incorporados a programas para ayudar a es tudiantes que precisan aprender ingls (identificados aqu con la sigla ELL) y la duracin de los programas de ayuda, podra tener un efecto significativo en el logro acadmico de esos estudiantes. La extensa evidencia anecdtica, sugiere que los criterios utilizados para asignar estudiantes en estas situaciones vare extensamente a travs de los EE.UU.. Este estudio examina sistemticamente leyes y las orientacione s federales relacionados, as como los requisitos de entrada y de salida para es tos programas en los 10 estados y 10 distritos escolares con mayor cantidad de ELL. La mayora de las decisiones de asignacin a estos programas utiliza alg n tipo de medicin de conocimiento de idioma ingls. Son pocos los estados y distritos que util izan mltiples fuentes de informacin para tomar este tipo de deci siones. Las ramificaciones de estos resultados se discuten tomando en cuenta las demandas lingsti cas y de contenido que habitualmente se encuentran en este tipo de clases. Appropriate educational policies for language mi nority learners are of significant importance for schools and society. Between 1991 and 2002, the enrollment of school-aged language minority learners in English Language Learner (ELL) programs increased by 95 percent (Padolsky, 2004) while enrollment of the overall population of stud ents increased by only 12 percent (Padolsky, 2004). Further, performance on national assessm ents demonstrate that these language minority learners struggle to achieve academically at the sa me levels as their native English speaking peers (National Center for Education Statistics [NCES], 2004). 1 Research suggests that this is the case for language minority learners while participating in specialized language support programs (Albus, Thurlow, & Liu, 2003) and after reclassification as fluent English proficient (FEP; de Jong, 2004). The No Child Left B ehind Act of 2001 (NCLB, 2002) has increased the pressure on school districts and to increase language minority learne rs academic achievement in subject area content and to reclassify as FEP. The criteria used to determine which language minority learners are designated ELLs in order to receive services, and which students are placed directly into mainstream classrooms, require analysis. Lack of standardization and clarity of entry and exit criteria for ELL programs at the national, state, or district level has the potential to have pronounced effects on the education of language minority learners. Anecdotal evidence suggest s that there is considerable variability in the identification and reclassification practices of language minority learners; however, few studies have examined such practices. Despite the consequences of variation in these policies (such as a student 1 In this paper, we use the term language minority learners to refer to the population of students who do not speak English as a native language and we use English language learner (ELL) to refer to those language minority learners who receive language support services.


Federal, State, and District Level English Langua ge Learner Program Entry and Exit Requirements 3 qualifying for services in one state or district, but not in another), there appear to be no studies that have examined the relationship among laws and policy at the federal, state, and district level policies. The purpose of the present study is to examine the entry and exit criteria for ELL programs. The study focuses on federal policies, and the policies of the ten states and ten districts in the U.S. with the largest enrollment of ELLs. The potential ramifications of these criteria on the academic achievement of language minor ity learners are discussed. Background If a language minority learner cannot meaningfu lly participate in a mainstream classroom because of limited English proficiency, schools m ust provide intervention services in order to promote the students English langua ge proficiency (see, for example, Lau v. Nichols 1974). Some language minority learners are therefore designated as ELLs and thus receive language skills support so that they may eventually participate in mainstream classrooms. The ELL population is heterogeneous regarding academic and language le arning needs and the corresponding support each learner requires. For example, one student may need a limited period to gain the conversational English necessary to succeed in a mainstream classr oom because of a high level of native language literacy, while another student may need extensi ve support because of limited former schooling. When ELLs have gained sufficient English langua ge proficiency to participate in grade level classes, they typically lose their ELL designation an d are reclassified as FEP. They then are required to participate in the mainstream classroom without specific ELL support. Thus, by design, ELL status is temporary. Although the exact terminology may vary, ther e are typically three different designations used to define language minority learners at various stages in their schooling. An initially fluent English proficient (I-FEP) student does not recei ve language learning support. A limited English proficient (LEP) or ELL student receives language learning support, whereas a student redesignated as fluent English proficient (R-FEP) no longer receives language support because he or she has attained proficiency in English. A student is ne ver designated R-FEP upon initial assessment; this designation is only assigned to a student who has qualified for reclassification from a specific ELL program to a mainstream classroom. Each of these designations can have a sign ificant impact on the enrollment of language minority learners in ELL programs across the co untry. In fact, Anstrom (1996) reported wide variability in the estimates of the number of school-aged ELLs enrolled in U.S. schools. This variability can be seen clearly when the most recent census data (U.S. Census Bureau, 2003) was compared to the most closely matching nationally collected data from states for the 1999 school year (Kindler, 2002). For example, almost 65 % of language minority learners in New Mexico schools were reported to be ELLs, while only 13.5% of language minority learners in New Jersey schools were reported to be ELLs. On a national le vel, using the same data, 38.1% of language minority learners were designated ELLs (see Table A, in the appendix, for relevant data). Thus, it appears that the state in which a language minori ty learner resides is likely to have an effect on whether or not that student receives language learning services. To explain this variability, various policy reports, papers, and literature reviews have consistently cited the lack of standard operationa l definitions for what it means to be an ELL (August & Hakuta, 1997; de Jong, 2004; U.S. Department of Education, 2005; U.S. General Accounting Office, 2001; Wright, 2005). In 1997, the National Research Council repor t on language minority children (August & Hakuta, 1997) attributed the divergent estimates of ELLs to a lack of consistency in ELL


Education Policy Analysis Archives Vol. 14 No. 20 4 identification practices from district to district. At that time, the district variability was assumed to be a reflection of vague federal and state guidelines. More recently, Wright (2005) found that although a more precise definition of which language minor ity learners qualified for ELL status had been implemented after the passage of NCLB (2002), the definition has still not been operationalized at the federal level. Wright speculated that with the possibility of each state using a different English language proficiency assessment, a language minor ity learner may be deemed FEP in one state and still qualify for ELL status in another. Despite an overall dearth of research in this area, descriptive information about identification practices related to language minori ty learners, at the state and district levels, is beginning to accumulate (e.g., Hopstock & Bucaro, 19 93; Zehler et al., 2003). The choice of tests to use, specific cut-scores, and other criteria may refl ect a districts localized definition of the needs of ELLs and the overall purpose of language support programs (De Avila, 1990; Nadeau & Miramontes, 1988). In addition, district choices may reflect federal level policy, state level policy passed down to the district, localized distri ct policy, or a combination of all three. The Relationship of ELL Identifi cation and Academic Achievement The effects of ELL identification and recla ssification, and the potential downsides to inaccurate or invalid criteria, are problematic. Coi ned by Linquanti (2001) as the redesignation dilemma, ELLs may be misclassifiedthey may be overlooked for language support services or placed in language support classes that are not commensurate with their academic abilities. A language minority learner may be misclassified as initially fluent English proficient (I-FEP) upon school entry, but he or she may lack the acad emic English they need to succeed in mainstream classrooms. For example, Gandara and Rumberger (2003) report that in California, language minority students who enter school already proficient in English start out comparable to native English speakers, but by third grade fall behi nd and never catch up (p. 5). An initial (mis)designation of I-FEP may result in a longterm academic struggle that educators do not attribute to language skills. This is likely to preclude subsequent language support services. Misclassification may also result in the placement of a student in a language class that is not commensurate with his or her academic ability. The relationship between the identification and reclassification criteria for ELL programs and the academic content and language in mainstream classrooms is especially important to consider. Once language minority learners are reclassified fluent English proficient (R-FEP) and placed in mainstream classrooms, they are likely to encounter more difficult and abstract content, particularly with increasing grade levels (De George, 1988). This situation is further complicated by the hi storically inaccurate assessment of language minority learners and the growing importance of st andardized testing after the passage of NCLB (2002). Historically, measures of literacy have ultima tely excluded language minorities from fully participating in U.S. society (Wiley, 2005) since they were administered as proxies for measuring intelligence. Given the language-based nature of these measures, language minority learners were often characterized as unintelligentand even ment ally retardeddue to lack of English language proficiency alone (Wiley, 2005). Similarly, language proficiency tests have th e potential to act as gateways to academic success, excluding language minority learners with limited English proficiency from exposure to ageappropriate content. With the passage of NCLB (2002), there has been an increase in the use of English Language Proficiency tests and they are central to the education of language minority learners (Gottlieb, 2006). Current policies and practices hinge on th e notion that English language


Federal, State, and District Level English Langua ge Learner Program Entry and Exit Requirements 5 proficiency is commensurate with academic skills and development, and have, effectively, promoted the practice of mainstreaming of ELLs as s oon as possible (Wiley, 2004; Wright, 2005). What is unclear is the extent to which states and districts are also using indicators of academic achievement in addition to make placement decisions about la nguage minority learners, irrespective of meeting federal policy. Each of these potential problems demonstrate that levels and amount of support provided to language minority learners-or whether support is provided at all-hinges directly on the language minority learner classification practi ces. The priority given to English language proficiency tests, and the chronic problems English language assessments pose for language minority learners, places extreme pressure on the methods federal, state, an d district level policy-makers decide to use to classify and reclassify language minority learners from ELL programs. Any shortcomings in these methods may indeed have profound effects on these students' opportunities to learn as well as their academic achievement and development. Present Study In this study we describe and analyze the iden tification and reclassification criteria for ELL programs at the federal, state, and district levels In an effort to strike a balance between the feasibility of conducting the study and providing a re latively accurate snapshot of the criteria used at the federal, state, and district levels, we focus on federal law and policies and the ten states and ten districts in the U.S. with the largest enrollment of ELLs. The study is also designed to provide an understanding of the potential ramifications that the federal, state, and district level laws and policies may have on language minority le arners academic achievement. This study expands on the literature in this area in several ways. First, previous literature has suggested that federal law is vague concerning the procedures states and districts should use to identify ELLs (e.g., August & Hakuta, 1997; Wright, 2005; Zehler, et al., 2003). However, to our knowledge, there is no research that has examined the specific nature of federal law and guidance and its relationship to state and district identification and reclassification of language minority learners by directly analyzing the written policies and law of the federal government and individual states and districts. Second, by focusing on the ten states and districts with the highest ELL enrollment, we tried to obtain a clearer picture of how more than 80% of ELLs in the nation are identified, instructed, and classified (Hoffman, 2003). Previous research has typically been conducted using a survey of state and district level administrators; because of this, the proportion of ELLs represented by the survey respondents is unclear. This study analyzes individual state and district policy and law using public documents; by using original sources, the likelihood of any incorrect interpretations of laws or policies by survey respondents was eliminated. Finally, by focusing our atten tion at the federal, state, and district levels, we sought to obtain a clearer picture of how the laws and policies filter down from the national level to the actual implementation of policies at state and district levels. The study is intended to build on the work of others who have focused on the federal level (e. g., Wright, 2005), sta te level (e.g., Mahoney & MacSwan, 2005), and the district level (e.g., Zehler et al., 2003). It also incorporates reports addressing how best to promote the academic achiev ement of language minority learners as it relates to entry and exit criteria for ELL programs (e.g., Linquanti, 2001). Three research questions guide this investigat ion: 1) Based on federal law and regulations, what type of guidance is provided for state level policy related to langua ge minority learners in public education?, 2) In what ways do criteria fo r identifying and exiting language minority learners


Education Policy Analysis Archives Vol. 14 No. 20 6 from ELL program requirements va ry by state and by district? and 3) How do the program requirements reflect the purpose of federal laws and regulations? Where is there convergence and divergence of criteria at the federal, state, and district levels? Method Using data from the National Center for Educat ion Statistics from the 2001 academic year (Hoffman, 2003), we identified the individual states and districts to be studied based on ELL enrollment (see appendix for relevant data). Because the main purpose of this study was to identify individual states and districts in order to determine their ELL program entry and exit criteria, not the accuracy of their methods for counting ELLs, we felt the federal dataset was most appropriate since it is a national source and therefore data is derived from only one source. State Identification Based on the reported enrollment of students receiving ELL services (Hoffman, 2003, p. 23), the ten states with the largest ELL enrollment (in the 2001 school year) were identified. These states, from largest to smallest ELL enrollm ents, included California, Texas, Florida, New York, Arizona, Illinois, Colorado, New Mexico, Georgia, and New Jersey. In the 20012002 academic year, the enrollment of ELLs in these te n states made up more than 80% of total ELL enrollment in the 50 states and the District of Columbia (Hoffman, 2003). In the ten states that were studied, data was gathered regarding how students were screened for potential ELL/LEP status, the number and type (e.g., teacher report, assessment, observation) of criteria used to make identification and pla cement decisions, and whether or not the criteria differed as a function of grade level. Data was simi larly gathered regarding exit criteria. Other data studied included: requirements relating to time limits on receiving language support programs, how programs were funded, and post recl assification monitoring practices. District Identification In the 2001 academic year, ELL enrollment in the ten districts studied, from largest to smallest, included: Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD; CA), New York City Public Schools (NYCPS; NY), Dade County Public Schools (DCPS; FL), Chicago Public Schools (CPS; IL), Houston Independent School District (HISD; TX), Santa Ana Unified School District (SAUSD; CA), San Diego City Unified School District (SDCUS D; CA), Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD; CA), Clark County Public Schools (CCPS; NV), Broward County Public Schools (BCPS; FL). In these 10 districts, the enrollment of ELLs made up more than 21% of total ELL enrollment in the 50 states and the District of Columbia (Hoffman, 2003). CCPS was the only district that was not located in a state that was considered one of the top 10 states by ELL enrollment. The same data as gathered for the states was gathered for each of the districts. Procedure for Federal, St ate, and District Policy and Law Analysis In order to address the research questions accurately and effectively, federal law (court rulings, educational code), non-regulatory guidance, state law (statutes and constitutions, consent


Federal, State, and District Level English Langua ge Learner Program Entry and Exit Requirements 7 decrees, administrative code, and technical assistance handbooks), and district policies and handbooks were collected and analyzed. The focus of this document analysis was to determine federal, state, and districts definitions of ELLs; entry and exit requirements; and accountability or funding measures that might influence how language minority learners are designated (i.e., I-FEP, ELL, and R-FEP). Relevant funding policies were examined with the understanding that funding policy may have a direct effect on student placemen t in language support programs (for a discussion see Clements, Lara, & Cheung, 1992). The data collection and analysis was conducted in two phases: First, documents related to the courts of law (court rulings, education code, an d statutes) were analyzed and used to address the research questions. Second, non-regulatory guidan ce (memos, handbooks, within-state or -district professional development materials) was then used to qualify, expand, and eliminate inconsistencies or gaps in information. The search process was multi-step. First, any published material reflecting court rulings were collected through internet searches, with a focus on federal, state, and district sources. Next, the operational definition of ELLs, specific entry an d exit criteria, and accountability measures influencing designation were collected and recorded systematically for each of the ten states and districts in the study. When relevant items were not identified in the first phase of data collection, a secondary search of sources was conducted. For exam ple, if a specific item for a district was missing (e.g., redesignation policy document), an email an d/or phone call was directed towards district ELL program administrators for assistance in locating wr itten criteria. In some cases, information that was not available in a public domain was supplied by the ELL program administrator. Once complete data for every state and district was obtained, and/or it was determined that missing information was unavailable, all informat ion was converted into tables and checked for accuracy against original sources of information. All data for this study was collected during the 2004 academic year. Results ELL Program Requirements as Defined by Federal Law At the national level, requirements for ELL programs are stipulated through three main sources. The first source is Title VI of the Ci vil Rights Act of 1964, and two court cases, Lau v. Nichols (1974) and Castaneda v. Pickard (1981), which resulted in more specific regulations under both Title VI and the Equal Educational Opportuni ty Act of 1974. The second source is Titles III and I of NCLB (2002). The third source is non-regu latory guidance provided in a handbook called Programs for English Language Learners: Resour ce Materials for Planning and Self-Assessments (U.S. Department of Education, 1999). In addition to policy updates released by the Office of Civil Rights, Title I and Title III have been disseminated by the U.S. Department of Education through of non-regulatory guidance in the form of handbooks and presentations in school districts. Each of the three sources is discussed in turn. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin in any program that receives federal funding. Although other, earlier memorandums out lined policy for language minority learners under Title VI, Lau v. Nichols (1974) was the first Supreme Court ca se to interpret the law (Smith, 1990). Lau v. Nichols affirmed that language minori ty learners could not be denied meaningful opportunity to participate in the public education pr ogram (p. 1). Furthermore, the Lau v. Nichols


Education Policy Analysis Archives Vol. 14 No. 20 8 case deemed that there is no equality of treatmen t merely by providing [language minority] students with the same facilities, textbooks, teachers, and curriculum (p. 2). Even if a language minority learner is educated in similar facilities with similar resources, English language proficiency cannot be considered a prerequisite to public education: Im position of a requirement that, before a child can effectively participate in the educational progra m, he must already have acquired those basic [English] skills is to make a mockery of public education (p. 2). Similarly, the Castaneda v. Pickard (1981) ruling served as a precedent for current federal policy on ELL programs. It provides the basis fo r what is the now famous Castaneda test for evaluating programs, requiring schools to implement a program based on sound educational theory, designate enough resources and teachers to serve ELLs, and discontinue a program if it is not producing results. The case further explained that meaningful opportunity to participate included not only the need for ELLs to be given the opportuni ty to learn English, but also the opportunity to learn grade level, subject area content: In order to be able ultimately to partic ipate equally with st udents who entered school with an English language background, the limited English speaking students will have to acquire both Eng lish language proficiency comparable to that of the average native speaker and to recoup any deficits which they may incur in other areas of the curriculum as a result of this extra expenditure of time on English language development. ( Castaneda v. Pickard 1981) As a result of this ruling, if a state or district chose to teach the English language first, without teaching grade level content, it had the responsibilit y to bring students up to grade level following this language instruction. The clause was designed to insure th at language minority learners acquire English, but not at the ex pense of learning c ontent area material. Finally, a policy update in 1991 from the Offi ce of Civil Rights extended and clarified Castaneda v. Pickard (1981), arguing that students design ated R-FEP must be able to achieve academic parity with their native English speaki ng peers. They must have access to the same curriculum, and have similar rates of drop out and retention (Williams, 1991). According to Castaneda v. Pickard (1981), a school or district may decide to teach the English language at the same time as academic subjects or after Englis h language proficiency is gained. However, if: no remedial action is ta ken to overcome the academ ic deficits that limited English students may incur during a period of intensive langua ge training, then the language barrier, although itself remedied, might, nevertheless, pose a lingering and indirect impediment to th ese students equal participation in the regular instructio nal program. ( Castaneda v. Pickard, 1981) Furthermore, districts have the responsibility to ensure that learning and growth are evident after enrollment in language support programs, not just during these programs. Title III of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. In 2001, the 107th Congress of the United States passed the NCLB Act. As part of NCLB, Title III, Language Instruction for Limited English Proficient an d Immigrant Students, was created. Like the rest of the titles in the NCLB Act, Title III allows states and districts greater flexib ility in how federal funds are spent on programs, in return for greater accountability for student progress (NCLB, 2002). Thus, the accountability measures in Title III require districts to submit th e number and percentage of children who attain English proficiency over the course of the yea r as well as the number who are meeting state academic content requirements. In addition, distri cts are required to report on the progress made by children in meeting challenging state academic content and student academic achievement standards for two years after ELLs are reclassified as FE P. Finally, under Title III states are required to establish annual measurable achievement objecti ves (AMAOs) which set specific targets for acquisition of English language proficiency, redesi gnation rates, and academic achievement of ELLs


Federal, State, and District Level English Langua ge Learner Program Entry and Exit Requirements 9 in the district. If a district does not meet AMAOs for four years consecutively, their funding may be withdrawn (NCLB, 2002). Title I of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. In contrast to Title III, Title I, Improving the Academic Achievement of the Disadvantaged focuses on the academic achievement of schools who qualify for funds because of the proportion of students from low-income backgrounds. However, since many ELLs come from homes of low socioeconomic status (U.S. General Accounting Office, 1999), the schools they attend often receive both Title I and Title III funds. Title I requires each state to implement an accountability system with sanctions and rewards incorporated to ensure every student makes adequate yearly prog ress (NCLB, 2002). At least once in grades 3 through 5, grades 6 through 9, and grades 10 through 12, all students must be assessed in mathematics and reading/language arts. Beginning in 2007, students will also be assessed in science. Title I also contains ELL-specific provisions for annual assessment and monitoring of the progress of language minority learners classified as ELLs. Once a language minority learner has been enrolled in U.S. schools for more than a year and cla ssified as an ELL, he or she is assessed in the same manner and frequency as native speakers of English. To ensure the reliability and validity of standardized assessments in reading/language arts, mathematics, and science, NCLB (2002) allows for native language testing of ELLs (to the extent practical), but with a maximum time limit of five years and only on a case-by-case basis after three years. Since 2002, each state has had to develop an assessment of English language profic iency to be administered annually to ELLs. Non-regulatory guidance. A number of sources of non-regulatory guidance that have an impact on the way that states and distri cts serve this population. For example, Programs for English Language Learners: Resource Material s for Planning an d Self-Assessments, was developed as a resource to assist districts in developing ELL pr ograms (U.S. Department of Education, 1999). This document addresses issues related to ELL identification, transitioning ELLs from language support programs to mainstream classrooms, and monitori ng those ELLs who have been redesignated. It provides questions prompting districts to consider their staffing patterns, documentation and assessment procedures, communication with parents, and structures in place related to identification and program delivery. These federal laws, policies, and supporting documents demonstrate that it is up to individual states and districts to develop a system for identifying language minority learners who need language support programs, and it is also up to them to determine when these students no longer need the support that is provided as a function of ELL status. Federal law stipulates, however, that states and districts must ensure that these learners develop English language proficiency and progress academically, with the ulti mate goal of their participation in mainstream classrooms. The exact details of these systems, in cluding operational definitions of classifications, and the types of tests and data to be used for asse ssment and monitoring, are left to the discretion of individual states and districts. In the next section, we present the practices of each of the 10 states and districts studied. State Entrance and Exit Requirements As noted earlier, for each of the 10 stat es studied, statutes, education code, and nonregulatory guidance (e.g., memos to district superin tendents) were collected and analyzed regarding the definition of ELLs, entry and exit criteria, and relevant accountability and funding requirements for ELL programs. All information was retrieve d from the websites from the Department of Education for each of the states studied.


Education P olicy Analysis Archives Vol. 14 No. 20 10


Federal, State, and District Level English Langua ge Learner Program Entry and Exit Requirements 11 Table 1 Entrance and Exit Criteria for 10 States with Most ELL Students Entrance Criteria Exit Criteria English Language Proficiency English Language Proficiency State Initial Referral K Other criteria, grades 2 K Other criteria, grades 2 Post-exit follow-up AZ HLS Below publishers score for fluent English proficiency (oral only) Adds reading and writing to oral measure Above publishers score for fluent English proficiency (oral only), parental notification Adds reading and writing measures. 2 yrs CA HLS Overall score below early advanced OR one or more skill areas (only listening and speaking) below intermediate, parental notification Adds reading and writing to listening and speaking measures. Overall score of early advanced or higher, listening and speaking OR overall score in the upper intermediate with additional data; comparison to native speakers of English, parent, teacher input Adds reading and writing areas for overall-score criterion. 2 yrs CO HLS Below publishers score for fluent English proficiency (oral only) Adds reading and writing to oral measure Above publishers score for fluent English proficiency (oral only); OR 2 years in program Adds reading and writing measures. FL HLS, parent/ teacher referral Below publishers score for fluent English proficiency (speaking and listening only), parent or teacher referreal to LEP committee For grades 4, adds: below 33rd percentile on norm-referenced test. Above publishers score for fluent English proficiency (speaking and listening only), parent or teacher request, LEP committee determination For grades 4, also above 32nd percentile on norm-referenced test. 1 yr


Education Policy Analysis Archives Vol. 14 No. 20 12 Entrance Criteria Exit Criteria English Language Proficiency English Language Proficiency State Initial Referral K Other criteria, grades 2 K Other criteria, grades 2 Post-exit follow-up GA Not specified Below 25th percentile on the Language Assessment Battery (LAB) or referred to conference if below 40th percentile on normreferenced test in reading Above 25th percentile on LAB AND at or above 40th percentile on normreferenced reading test; classroom performance and time in program may be considered. IL HLS, parental request Below 51st percentile on norm-referenced English language proficiency test (oral only), or if more than one year behind grade level (with parental request) Adds reading and writing to oral measures; OR reentry if disabled by an inadequate command of English 3 years in program or parental approval; AND above 50th percentile on norm-referenced English language proficiency test (oral only) Adds reading and writing measures. NJ ESL/bilingual teacher prescreening Below state standard on approved English language proficiency test and one additional indicator (reading assessment, teacher input, previous academic performance, or other standardized test in English Score above state standard on approved English language proficiency test and one additional indicator; also considers: reading assessment, teacher input, previous academic performance, other tests in English NM HLS Below publishers score for fluent English proficiency in every skill area Above publishers score for fluent English proficiency in every skill area; includes review of general academic performance


, and District Level English Langua ge Learner Program Entry and Exit Requirements 13 Entrance Criteria Exit Criteria English Language Proficiency English Language Proficiency State Initial Referral K Other criteria, grades 2 K Other criteria, grades 2 Post-exit follow-up NY HLS, informal interview Below proficient on LAB-R Above proficient level of proficiency on NYSELAT; OR 3 years in program (without permission of state commissioner) TX HLS Below publishers score for fluent English proficiency (oral only) OR primary language proficiency higher than proficiency in English. Also requires student interview, teacher evaluation, and parent interview. Adds more than oral measure and also requires below 40th percentile on norm-referenced reading/ language arts test Cannot be exited from ELL programs in pre-K through grade 1. Above publishers score for fluent English proficiency (oral and writing), meets standards on English language criterionreferenced assessment in reading and writing OR scores 39th percentile on both English reading and language arts normreferenced assessment; parental approval, teacher evaluations, other criterion-re ferenced tests HLS = Home Language Survey Sources: Ariz. Admin. Code, 2004; Consent Order in Miriam Flores, et al. v. Arizona, et al., 2006; Cal. Educ. Code, 1998; Cal. Code of Regs., 1998; California Department of Education, 2005; 1. Colo. Co de of Regs., 2003; Colorado Department of Education, 1997; Col. Rev. Stat., 1981; Consent Decree in LULAC, et al. v. State Board of Education, et. al 1990; Fla. Admin. Code, 1990; Ga. Comp R. & Regs., 1990; Ill. Ad min. Code, 2003; N.J. Admi n. Code, 2003; New Mexico Public Education Department, 2003; New Mexico Public Education De partment, 1998; New York State Department of Education, 2003; New York State Department of Education, 2004; Tex. Educ. Code, 1995; 19 Tex. Admin. Code, 1996 Federal, State


Education P olicy Analysis Archives Vol. 14 No. 20 14 Entrance criteria. Table 1 shows the entrance and exit criteria used in the ten states with the largest numbers of ELLs in 2001. Each of the ten states studiedexcept for Georgia and New Jerseyused a home language survey to iden tify those children for whom a language other than English is spoken at home. Georgias law does not specify if a home language survey should be used or not and New Jerseys law specifies a prescreening by a certified ESL/bilingual teacher. There is no mention of a home language survey. In six of the states studied (Arizona, Calif ornia, Colorado, Georgia, New Mexico, New York), the identification process for ELL programs is two step: an initial prescreening tool (e.g., home language survey, prescreening by teacher), and one additional criterion, usually a test of English language proficiency. Four states (Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, and Texas) use additional criteria including parental request/approval, teacher input, student achievement, and the recommendations of an LEP committee, or simila rly named group of educators who convene to monitor ELLs progress. In some states, criteria differed as a functi on of the grade level of the language minority learner. In six of the states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Texas), kindergarten and first grade children are administered only the listenin g and speaking portions of the English language proficiency test while children in grade 2 and beyond are also assessed for reading and writing skills. In the four other states (New Jersey, Georgia, N ew Mexico, and New York), the same criteria are used in kindergarten through grade 12. Exit criteria. As shown in Table 1, the majority of states use English language proficiency tests as the primary means of redesignating ELLs to mainstream programs. However, eight states also use additional criteria such as parental notification or request, teacher request and/or evaluation, determination of an LEP committee, and standardized test results in reading and language arts. Of the 10 states studied, only 4 (C alifornia, New Jersey, New Mexico, Texas) require academic achievement performance in every subject area (either through grades or standardized test performance) to be reviewed before reclassification. Further, only California requires comparison to native English speakers using standardized tests in all subjects. Where available, Table 2 also includes the sp ecific time requirements for ELL services, by state. 2 Three states (Colorado, Illinois, and New Yo rk) stipulate the amount of time language minority learners should be served in ELL prog rams. In Colorado, after two years in an ELL program, students are no longer funded. In New York, after three years, a students individual progress is reviewed. In Illinois, ELLs cannot be cons idered for redesignation before spending three years in language support programs. Four states (California, Texas, Arizona, an d Florida) have specific information about monitoring practices following reclassification of ELLs as R-FEP. In California and Arizona, students must be monitored for two years after exiting ELL programs, whereas in Florida it is one year. In Texas, language proficiency assessmen t committees (LPACs) can re-enroll a student in language support programs if he or she struggles in mainstream classrooms because of limited English proficiency. 2 The passage of Proposition 227 (California) and Proposition 203 (Arizona) s hould have altered the laws and policies including entry and ex it criteria for ELL programs; at this time, their effects are unclear. For example, in California, language from Proposition 227 was added to S ections 305 and 306 of the California Education Code; while Section 305 indi cates that ELLs should not be enrolled in structured English immersion programs for a period not to exceed one ye ar or once these students have acquired a good working knowledge of English, the specific exit crit eria identified in this study do not reflect these statements.


Federal, State, and District Level English Langua ge Learner Program Entry and Exit Requirements 15 Table 2 ELL Program Entry and Exit Criteria, 10 Districts with Hig hest ELL Populations District Entry Criteria Exit Criteria Los Angeles (CA) Same as state (CA) State re quirements plus subject-are a achievement of C or better in English and math. New York City (NY) Same as state (NY) Same as state (NY Miami-Dade (FL) State criteria (FL) modified as follows : for students in grades K, scoring below a 4 on Miami-Dade County Oral Proficiency Scale (Revised). Grades 4: in addition, norm-referenced tests below 32nd percentile, either math or reading, with judgment of placement committee, or on both Grades 62: No information provided. Home language assessment plus the following: K: Level 5 on the Miami-Dade County Oral Proficiency Scale (Revised); and either norm-referenced tests above 32nd percentile in both reading or math or above 32nd percentile in one with judgment of placement committee. Grades 6: No info rmation provided.. Chicago (IL) No information provided. No information provided. Houston ISD (TX) State criteria modified as follows: PK: scores of non-Englis h or limited English speaker on the IDEA Proficiency Test (IPT), teacher survey of home language included in review Grades 22: score below 40% in reading, language subtests of TerraNova or nonmastery on TAKS. State criteria modified as follows: may also meet state performance standards for English language criterionreferenced assessment for reading and writing and has passing grades in English language arts. Santa Ana (CA) No information provided. No information provided. San Diego (CA) No information provided. State criter ia plus California Standard s Test results at grade level in English/language arts Long Beach (CA) State criteria plus the following K: oral fluency in L1 usi ng Assessment of Primary Language (APL) Grades 22: oral and literac y proficiency in L1 using the Assessment of Primary Language (APL) State criteria plus the following: Grades 3: Standardized te st scores reaching basic proficiency in English lang uage arts; plus benchmark judgments in reading and math in teacher evaluations Grades 62: C or higher in 3 academic classes; standardized test scores reaching ba sic proficiency in math.


olicy Analysis Archives Vol. 14 No. 20 16 Entry Criteria Exit Criteria Clark County (Las Vegas) (NV)a HLS Grade 1: between 62 and 81 on the Pre-LAS Oral. Grades 2: lower than 241 on the LAS (oral, reading, and writing) Grade 1: 82 or higher on Pre-LAS Oral; Grades 2: 241 or higher on the LAS (oral, reading, and writing) Alternatives: 26th percentile on ITBS, passing on HSPE, 26th percentile on SBAP Broward County (Ft. Lauderdale) (FL) HLS IDEA scores of a non-Eng lish speaker or a limited English speaker in Grades 412, if IDEA score show FEP status, students must score at or above 51st percentile in reading AND writing on the MAT to be FEP; if either is at or below 50th percentile, student is referred to the LEP committee parental notification IDEA scores of a fluent English proficient speaker in Grades 4 if IDEA score show FEP status, students must score at or above 51st percentile in reading AND writing on the MAT; if either is at or below 50th percentile, student is referred to the LEP committee a Clark County schools requires follow-up m onitoring of exiting student for 2 years. Sources: Los Angeles School District, n.d.; New York State Depart ment of Education, 2003; New York State Department of Educatio n, 2004; New York State Department of Education, 2003; School Board of Miami-Dade, 2004; Houston Independent School Dist rict, 2004; San Diego City Scho ols, n.d.; Long Beach Unified School District, n.d.; Clark County School Di strict, 2003; Broward County Public Schools, 2004 Education PDistrict


Federal, State, and District Level English Langua ge Learner Program Entry and Exit Requirements 17 District Entry and Exit Criteria For the ten states studied, state laws and re gulations for entering and exiting ELL programs is available online, but only three of the dist ricts (HISD, CCSD, and BCS) studied have this information available online. The seven other districts provided various le vels of information. One district (DDPS) provided entry and exit criteria in kindergarten through grade 5 but was not able to provide criteria for grades 6 through 12. One district (NYCPS) provided the same criteria as stipulated by state laws and regulations. Some districts could not provide wr itten documentation of district policies, whether online or via hard copy. Other districts did not respond to requests. Entry criteria. Table 2 illustrates entry and exit criteria in ten districts with the largest numbers of ELLs. Many districts had little or no information readily available, two districts (LAUSD and NYCPS) had the same criteria as the state criter ia, and four districts provided entry criteria for ELL programs that was distinctly different from state criteria. One district (i.e., LBUSD) assesses native la nguage literacy of every language minority learner from kindergarten through grade 12. In addi tion to the entrance criteria set out by the state of Texas, Houston Independent School District also considers results from a standardized academic achievement (Terra Nova CAT 6) when determini ng if a language minority learner should be enrolled in ELL programs. Exit criteria. Table 2 also shows the exit criteria for each of these 10 districts. Of the eight districts with information available for this st udy, five (DCPS, LAUSD, LBUSD, SDCS, BCPS) considered scores on English language proficiency tes ts as well as additional criteria to determine if language minority students were to be redesignated Two districts (LAUSD and LBUSD) considered the academic achievement of potential RFEP students in two or more subject areas, and in these districts writing was considered an aspect of reading and language arts achievement. In five of the districts studied (DCPS, HISD, SDCS, CCSD, BCPS), achievement in language arts was the only subject area achievement that was considered in addition to performance on an English language proficiency test. As shown in Table 2, LBUSD also recommends a teacher evaluation and specifies specific exit criteria at various grade levels (i.e., classroom work, standardized testing). No other districts in the study had exit criteria that varied as a function of grade level. For four districts (NYCPS, DCPS, CCSD, and BCPS), the only difference between entry and exit criteria used was the use of a home language surv ey, or similar instrument, in the entry criteria. Two districts (HISD, CCSD) include the requirement of monitoring R-FEP student for two years after redesignation. Discussion The findings of the present study corroborate with previous research and literature in the study of ELL identification and classification criteria (Zehler et al.,2003; Mahoney & MacSwan, 2005; Wright, 2005). The results su ggest that entry and exit criter ia for ELL programs are overly broad, focusing primarily on the language proficie ncy of ELLs. Often the importance of the overall, long-term academic achievement of these learners is not considered. The findings raise several implications for policies designed to ensure that la nguage minority learners are effectively served in schools across the U.S.


Education Policy Analysis Archives Vol. 14 No. 20 18 Main Findings Our first research question focuses on the nature of federal laws and regulations regarding state level policy on ELL identification and reclassi fication of language minority learners and the corresponding programming for this population. Fe deral law, court rulings, and non-regulatory guidance clearly state the importance of providin g language minority learners with appropriate services and effective instruction; however specific and concrete guidance is lacking. For example, what are the defining characteristi cs of a student who has limited English proficiency? What does it mean to be redesignated fluent English proficient (R-FEP), and what steps, if any, should a state or district take to measure ELLs academic achievement more than two years after redesignation? According to federal law, and with the intent of lawmakers to give local districts more flexibility in meeting accountabili ty measures, answers to these and other questions are left to individual states and districts. Yet by giving states and districts this flexibility, is federal policy, in effect, sabotaging some students academic achi evement? Would greater uniformity in federal identification and reclassification law and policy more accurately operationalize the goal of NCLB (i.e., for all students to attain high levels of achievement)? Further, all of the written documents we revi ewed focus almost exclusively on the English language proficiency of ELLs. Although these me asures typically include a reading and writing component, we encountered minimal emphasis on ac ademic achievement, or concern about the relationship between performance on a measure of oral language proficiency and academic achievement, for those language minority learne rs receiving ELL services. Twenty years ago, Castaneda v. Pickard (1981) focused on the need for langua ge minority learners to learn subject area content in addition to the English language More recently, Titles III and I of NCLB (2002) requires states to set annual measurable achievem ent objectives, or benchmarks, for adequate yearly progress for the acquisition of English language proficiency and content-area knowledge in reading/language arts, mathematics, and science for ELLs. However, states and districts appear to be measuring English language proficiency (reading, writing, listening, and speaking) and not academic skills and language as they relate to subject areas. A second finding is that court rulings, federal NCLB law, and non-regulatory guidance tend to focus onand even overemphasizeEnglish lang uage skills at the expense of academic achievement. This finding is consistent with the speculations of others conducting research in this area (e.g., Wiley & Wright, 2004; Wright, 2005). Li mited federal guidance, combined with sanctions for underperformance on AMAOs under Title III of NCLB (2002), creates a situation whereby states and districts may be trying to redesignate language minority students as quickly as possible, leaving academic achievement to the mainstream classroom. Thus, ELL programs may be designed around the goal of English language proficiency alone, without a concurrent focus on long-term academic achievement. Language minority learners may not be r eceiving the necessary language support to fully develop academic language and c ontent knowledge. Once they are reclassified as RFEP, specific language learning support may not be provided. Without any federal level requirements to trac k R-FEP students for more than two years after redesignation, combined with AMAOs, states and districts are, in essence, rewarded for redesignating ELLs as quickly as possible. Thus, ELL classrooms tend to focus on teaching the English language first, before academic content, and this fact may have negative ramifications for entry into mainstream classrooms. Only four of the states studied employed cri teria other than English language proficiency tests when making entry and exit decisions. The ot her six states considered only English language proficiency tests. In the present study, only 20 percen t of districts included criteria that related to


Federal, State, and District Level English Langua ge Learner Program Entry and Exit Requirements 19 academic achievement math and science. Accord ing to Kuhlman (2005) and Saville-Troike (1991), measures of English language proficiency are of ten de-contextualized and even oversimplified, despite having reading and writing components. This fact is a matter of concern given the importance language plays in all content areas including math (Aiken, 1971; Abedi & Lord, 2001), science (Carrasquillo & Rodriguez, 1997), and social studies (Short, 1993). By focusing on acquisition of English language proficiency as measured by standardized tests, ELL programs may not be preparing students for the content and language of mainstream classrooms (e.g., Mahoney & MacSwan, 2005; Zehler, Hopstock, Fleischman, & Greniuk, 1994). Our second research question focuses on the variability of state and district ELL program entrance and exit requirements and the extent to wh ich the requirements are aligned with federal laws and regulations. We found that many states and districts used similar criteria for identifying learners for placement inand exit fromELL programs. Consistent with federal documents, many of these criteria were overly broad (e.g., a st udent is either proficient in English or not) and not tied to long-term academic achievement (i.e ., beyond two years of exiting ELL programs). Increased guidance for states and districts is needed to ensure that specific identification and reclassification criteria reflect the complexity of educating language minority learners beyond the obvious need for language development. In the majority of states, only one piece of information was used for identification and reclassification, most of ten an English language proficiency test. Only four of the states studied specified a review of academic performance before ELLs could be reclassified as R-FEP. However, performance on an English language proficiency test is not necessarily tied to grade level content standards. Most states and districts did not test for academic achievement despite the two-fold intent of NC LB (2002)to increase the English language proficiency and academic achievement of language minority learners. Inherent in the use of an English language pr oficiency test alone is the assumption that the test is an effective proxy for the ability to meet the demands of mainstream classroom and curriculum (Mahoney & MacSwan, 2005). In 60% of states studied, for students in kindergarten and first grade, the primary classification tool was an English language proficie ncy tests that measured only oral language ability as defined by achievement in listening and speaki ng skills. However, this focus may result in an under-emphasis of other important skills for read ing acquisition. For example, research with language minority learners in the primary grades has demonstrated that measures of phonological processing ability are more strongly related to word reading development than are measures of oral language proficiency such as vocabulary and gra mmatical sensitivity (e.g., Lesaux & Siegel, 2003; Limbos & Geva, 2001). Equally important, when st udied in the context of ELLs with reading disability, measures of oral language proficien cy have been shown to have low sensitivity, as compared to measures of phonological processi ng and working memory skills, in identifying children at risk for difficulty with reading acquisition (Limbos & Geva, 2001). Research has also shown that many ELLs are overlooked for early remedial services for reading because of their limited English proficiency (e.g., Limbos & Geva, 2001). Many language minority learners in the primary grades may benefit more from interventi on services for struggling readers than from ELL program with emphasis on oral language proficiency. The entry and exit criteria typically used by sta tes and districts do not take into account the developmental and cumulative nature of language an d literacy development: the criteria dont vary as a function of actual grade level expectations an d standards, nor as a function of individual characteristics such as years of prio r schooling, age of arrival, and na tive language literacy ability. As Linquanti (2001) points out, part of the difficu lty in defining proficient lies in specifying for what purposes since, to a great extent, language pe rformance must be considered in the context of the particular language tasks to be performed, the subject matter or topic, the audience (p. 4). The


Education Policy Analysis Archives Vol. 14 No. 20 20 language and academic demands in elementary sch ool differ significantly from those in high school. A language minority learners designation as proficient in grade one, for example, does not guarantee that he or she will meet the expectations in a high school classroom. Our third research question focused on the different criteria at the federal, state, and district levels and the potential ramifications any areas of divergence might have on the education of language minority learners. We found that the number and complexity of entry and exit requirements increased from the federal, to the state, to the district levels. More importantly, the intent of federal level law was not always accuratel y reflected in state law, and, state law was not always clearly reflected in district level policy. Thus the main purpose, and underlying intent of federal level ELL policy, seems to be inaccurately reflected and misconstrued at the state and district levels, leading to possible misdiagnoses and lack of adequate support of language minority learners. Consider two scenarios. First, although NCLB (2002) requires all schools to report on students yearly progress in reading/language arts, math, and science, only fo ur of ten states (California, New Jersey, New Mexico, Texas) and two districts (LAUSD, LBUS D) included measures of ELLs academic achievement before making redesignation decisions Further, only California requires the academic achievement of ELLs be compared to that of nati ve English speakers on standardized tests in every subject area. Thus, the accountability measures stipul ated by NCLB (2002) have limited effect on the actual state and district criteria for exiting ELL prog rams. In states and districts that do not consider the academic achievement of ELLs before redesi gnation, R-FEP students may not be able to succeed in grade-level, content area classrooms. Second, while NCLB (2002) requires monitori ng of R-FEP students for two years after redesignation, only four states (C alifornia, Arizona, Texas, and Florida) and two districts (HISD and CCSD) explicitly address this requirement. It was not clear that ELLs are monitored after redesignation as R-FEP or that there are mechanis ms in place to ensure that ELL programs develop students language skills to a level that supports la ter learning in the mainstream classroom. Without a long-term system to monitor the academic achiev ement of these students, there is no effective way to determine the success of ELL programs. These findings lend support to Linquantis (2001) concerns about a redesignation dilemma on a national level. That is, if students are redesi gnated solely on the basis of English language proficiency, then the instructional focus in E LL support programs may be only on those skills needed to pass English language proficiency test s, and students may not be prepared for the academic language and content that characterizes ma instream classrooms. Without exit criteria that includes the assessment of academic achievement an d, without post-reclassification monitoring, it is not possible to determine whether these learners are prepared to thrive in the mainstream classroom without language support. A recent study conducte d with fourth and sixth graders suggests that children classified as R-FEP continue to struggle academically after being redesignated (de Jong, 2004). These findings raise an additional concern abou t a particular subgroup of language minority learnersthose designated I-FEP. This designation may be due to the oral language focus of entry criteria. Designation as an I-FEP student in the early grades does not take into account that the learner may need language support over time, with the increasing complexity of academic language needed to succeed in mainstream classrooms. ELL students deserve appropriate and effective services, and a baseline is necessary for quality and continuity.


Federal, State, and District Level English Langua ge Learner Program Entry and Exit Requirements 21 Implications Therefore, three areas related to the educat ion of language minority learners deserve significant attention. Also, these th ree areas suggest future research. First, so that individual states and districts have a better framework for creating and monitoring their own programs, there is a need for more specificity with respect to operational definitions (e.g., ELL, R-FEP), particularly within the non-regulatory guidance released by the Office of Civil Rights. The variability of the entry and exit criteria used in various districts is a significant issue to be rectified in the field because: a) the inability to make comparisons of language minority learners academic achievement across states and districts hampers the development of consistent and coherent expectations and instructional practice s for this population and b) a language minority learner may receive services in one st ate and/or district, and not another. Second, entrance and exit criteria for ELL programs should include multiple sources of information, including performance on English la nguage proficiency and academic achievement tests and teacher ratings. Multiple measures of English language proficiency and academic achievement would prevent districts from oversimplifying expectations for entering and exiting ELL programs, helping to develop a focus on the long -term academic success of all language minority learners. Also, research is necessary to establish which measures are most predictive of later success in the mainstream classes. Longitudinal studies th at track the academic achievement of language minority learners, particularly learners who are re designated as R-FEP, are needed. These studies would provide insight into classification criteria wi th predictive validity, contributing to a better understanding of the conditions and services need ed to promote the long-term academic success of all language minority learners. Finally, future studies need to examine the eff ect of the variability of entry and exit criteria on the academic achievement of language minority learners in different states and districts. The long-term academic trajectory of language minority learners needs to be examined when students are designated ELL, R-FEP, and I-FEP, and the predi ctive validity of classification measures must be established. Although a significant methodological challenge, few, if any, studies have examined the effect of policy on the academic achiev ement of these learners over time.


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Education Policy Analysis Archives Vol. 14 No. 20 24 Hoffman, L. M. (2003). Overview of public elemen tary and secondary school districts: school year 2001 (NCES Publication No. 2003). Wa shington, DC: U.S. Department of Education. Hopstock, P., & Bucaro, B. (1993). A review and analysis of estim ates of LEP student population Prepared under contract for the U.S. De partment of Education by Development Associates, Inc.: Arlington, VA. Houston Independent School District, Mu ltilingual Programs Department. (2004). Bilingual/ESL guidelines Houston, TX: Author. Ill. Admin. Code tit. 23, 228 et seq. (2003). Kuhlman, N. (2005). The language assessment conundrum: What te sts claim to assess and what teachers need to know. The ELL Outlook, 4 (2). Retrieved July 28, 2006, from Kindler, A.L. (2002). Survey of the states li mited English proficient students & available educational programs and services 1999000 summary report. Washington, DC: National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisi tion and Language Instruction Educational Programs. Lau v. Nichols 414 U.S. 56 (1974). Retrie ved April 10, 2002, from http://www.ncbe.gwu.e du/miscpubs/gov/lau Lesaux, N.K, & Siegel, L.S. (2003). The develo pment of reading in ch ildren who speak English as a second language (ESL). Developmental Psychology, 39 (6), 1005. Linquanti, R. (2001). The redesignation dilemma: changes an d choices in fostering meaningful accountability for English learners (Policy Rep. 2001) University of California Linguistic Minority Research Institute. San Francisco: WestEd. Retrieved October 31, 2004, from resdiss/2/ pdf_files/re designationdilemma.pdf Long Beach Unified School District. (n.d.). Program assistance for language minority students Long Beach, CA: Author. Long Beach Unified School District. (n.d.). Master plan Unpublished document. Long Beach, CA: Author. Los Angeles Unified School District, Language Acquisition Branch. (n.d.). Initial identification process Los Angeles, CA: Author. Los Angeles Unified School District, Language Acquisition Branch. (n.d.) Reclassification of English learners, elementary school Los Angeles, CA: Author. Los Angeles Unified School District, Language Acquisition Branch. (n.d.) Reclassification of English learners, secondary school Los Angeles, CA: Author.


Federal, State, and District Level English Langua ge Learner Program Entry and Exit Requirements 25 Mahoney, K.S. & MacSwan, J. (2005). Reexamining identification and reclassification of English language learners: A crit ical discussion of select state practices. Bilingual Research Journal, 29 (1), 31. Nadeau, A., & Miramontes, O. (1988). The reclassi fication of limited English proficient students: Assessing the inter-relationship of selected variables. NABE Journal, 12 (3), 219. National Center for Education Statistics. (2004). Language minority lea rners and their labor market indicators Recent trends. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved September 21, 2004, from http://nces.ed.g ov/pubs2004/2004009.pdf N.J. Admin. Code 18A: 35.15 et seq. (2003). Retrieved October 16, 2004, from State of New Jersey Web site: New Mexico Public Education Department. (1998). Bilingual multicultural education: Guidelines for compliance with existi ng federal and state laws. Santa Fe, NM: Author. New Mexico Public Education Department. (2003). Technical assistance manual for implementing bilingual education an d Title III programs. Santa Fe, NM: Author. Retrieved October 31, 2004, from 03/table.of.contents.hyperlink2.doc New York State Department of Ed ucation, Regulations of the Co mmissioner of Education, Part 154. (2003). Retrieved on October 19, 2005, from New York State Department of Education. (2004). New York StateLEP identification process Albany, NY: Author. Retrieve d October 30, 2004, from No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, Pub.L.No. 107 (2002). Padolsky, D. (2004). How many school-aged English language learners (ELLs) are there in the U.S? NCELA FAQ No. 1 Retrieved November 11, 2004, from Sable, J. & Hoffm an, L.M. (2005). Characteristics of the 100 largest public elementary and secondary school districts in the United States: 2001 (NCES Publication No. 2005 312). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education. San Diego City Schools. (n.d.) No Child Left Behind annual Engl ish learner parent notification letter for parents of continui ng English learner students. San Diego, CA: Author. Saville-Troike, M. (1991, Spring ). Teaching and testing for acad emic achievement: The role of language development. NC ELA FOCUS: Occasional Pape r in Bilingual Education No. 4. Retrieved May 27, 2005, from


Education Policy Analysis Archives Vol. 14 No. 20 26 School Board of Miami-Dade. (2004). Guide to complete an individual LEP student plan: Elementary, 2004 Miami, FL: Author. Short, D.J. (1993). The challenge of social studies for limited English pr oficient students Washington, DC: Office of Educational Re search and Improvement. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 362 071.) Smith, W.L. (1990). Policy regarding the treatment of national origin minority students who are limited English proficient Washington, DC: U.S. De partment of Education. Tex. Educ. Code Ann. .051 et seq. (1995). Retrieve d October 15, 2004, from http://www.capitol.state.tx .us/statutes/ed/ed0002900.html U.S. Census Bureau. (2003). Language use, English ability, and linguistic isolation for the population 5 to 17 years by state: 2000 (Report C2KBR). Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved October 15, 2004, from population/cen2000/phct20/tab02.pdf U.S. Department of Education. (2005). Biennial evaluation repo rt to Congress on the implementation of the stat e formula grant program (200 2): English Language Acquisition and Academic Achievem ent Act (ESEA, Title III, Part A) Washington, DC: Author. U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights. (1999). Programs for English language learners: Resource materials fo r planning and self-assessments. Washington, D.C.: Author. Retrieved November 21, 2004, from s/list/ocr/ell/index.html U.S. General Accounti ng Office. (1999). R eport to congressional re questers: Title I services provided to students with limited English proficiency (GAO/HEHS0). Washington, DC: Author. U.S. General Accounti ng Office. (2001). Report to congressional requ esters: Meeting the needs of students with limited English proficiency (GAO). Washington, DC: Author. Waggoner, D. (1993). The growth of multilingualis m and the need for bili ngual education: What do we know so far? Bilingual Research Journal, 17 (1 & 2), 1. Wiley, T.G. (2005). Literacy and language dive rsity in the United States Washington, DC & McHenry, IL: Center for Applied Linguistics & Delta Systems. Wiley, T. G., & Wright, W. E. (2004). Against the undertow: The politics of language instruction in the United States. Educational Policy, 18 (1), 142. Williams, M.L. (1991). Policy update on schools obligations towards national origin minority students with limited-English proficiency Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education.


Federal, State, and District Level English Langua ge Learner Program Entry and Exit Requirements 27 Wright, W.E. (2005). Evolution of federal policy and implic ations of No Child Left Behind for language mino rity students Tempe, AZ : Educ ation Policy Studies Laboratory, EPSL 0501LPRU. Retrieved August 15, 2005 from /epsl/EPRU/documents/ EPSLLPRU.pdf Zehler, A.M., Fleischman, H.L., Hopstock, P.J., Stephenson, T.G., Pendzick, M.L., & Sapru, S. (2003). Descriptive study of services to LEP students and LEP st udents with disabilities. Arlington, VA: Development Associates, Inc. Zehler, A. M., Hopstock, P. J., Fleischman, H. L. & Greniuk, C. (1994). An examination of assessment of limited Engl ish proficient students. Arlington, VA: SIAC. Retrieved June 12, 2005, from pubs/siac/lepasses.htm About the Authors Alex Ragan, Ed.M. Course Crafters, Inc. Nonie K. Lesaux, Ph.D. Harvard Graduate School of Education Email: Alex Ragan is the research and development manage r at Course Crafters, Inc., where he directs the development of instru ctional materials for ELLs and their teachers. He is also a graduate student at the Harvard Graduate School of Educati on, with research interests that focus on the long-term academic achievement of language minority learners and the translation of educational theory into teacher practice. Nonie K. Lesaux is Assistant Professor, Human De velopment & Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education. Lesauxs rese arch focuses on the reading and language development of language minority learners, and predictors of school achievement for this population. Lesaux works with several urban schools focused on raising the achievement of English Language Learners and was Senior Research Associate of the National Literacy Panel on Language Minority Children and Youth.


Education Policy Analysis Archives Vol. 14 No. 20 28 Appendix Table A Relationship between Language Minority Learne rs and ELL enro llment, nationally and in ten states with largest number of ELLs State Language Minority Learnersa 1999 ELL Enrollment based on Kindler, 2002b Proportion ELL California 2,879,695 1,480,527 51.41% Florida 637,410 235,181 36.90% Texas 1,380,888 554,949 40.19% New York 928,518 228,730 24.63% Illinois 460,661 143,855 31.23% Arizona 284,061 125,311 44.11% Colorado 115,992 60,031 51.75% New Mexico 118,218 76,661 64.85% New Jersey 366,687 49,847 13.59% Michigan 150,818 44,471 29.49% Georgia 148,700 30,491 20.51% U.S. Total 9,779,766 3,730,966 38.15% a Number of students, fiveto 17 -years-old, who reported speaking a non-English lang uage at home (U.S. Census Bureau, 2003). b Number of students designated as ELLs (Kindler, 2002). Table A States with the Highest Number of Stud ents Receiving ELL Services, 2001 State Number of students receiving ELL services California 1,510,859 Texas 601,791 Florida 204,208 New York 193,711 Arizona 148,861 Illinois 136,295 Colorado 71,011 New Mexico 66,035 Georgia 63,272 New Jersey 56,712 U.S. Total 3,768,653 Source: Hoffman (2003).


Federal, State, and District Level English Langua ge Learner Program Entry and Exit Requirements 29 Table A Districts with the Highest Number of Stu dents Receiving ELL Services, 2001 District State Number of students receiving ELL services Los Angeles Unified Sch ool District CA 307,594 New York City Pub lic Schools NY 141,916 Dade County Public Sc hools (Miami) FL 69,452 Chicago Public Schools IL 61,037 Houston Independent Sc hool District TX 59,904 Santa Ana Unified Sch ool District CA 39,934 San Diego City Unified School District CA 38,867 Long Beach Unified School District CA 31,697 Clark County Public Schools (Las Vegas) NV 30,629 Broward County Public Sch ools (Ft. Lauderdale) FL 30,298 Source: Sable & Hoffman (2005).


Education Policy Analysis Archives Vol. 14 No. 20 30 EDUCATION POLICY ANALYSIS ARCHIVES Editor: Sherman Dorn, University of South Florida Production Assistant: Chris Murre ll, Arizona State University General questions about ap propriateness of topics or particular articles may be addressed to the Editor, Sherman Dorn, Editorial Board Michael W. Apple University of Wisconsin David C. Berliner Arizona State University Robert Bickel Marshall University Gregory Camilli Rutgers University Casey Cobb University of Connecticut Linda Darling-Hammond Stanford University Gunapala Edirisooriya Youngstown State University Mark E. Fetler California Commission on Teacher Credentialing Gustavo E. Fischman Arizona State Univeristy Richard Garlikov Birmingham, Alabama Gene V Glass Arizona State University Thomas F. Green Syracuse University Aimee Howley Ohio University Craig B. Howley Ohio University William Hunter University of Ontario Institute of Technology Daniel Kalls Ume University Benjamin Levin University of Manitoba Thomas Mauhs-Pugh Green Mountain College Les McLean University of Toronto Heinrich Mintrop University of California, Berkeley Michele Moses Arizona State University Anthony G. Rud Jr. Purdue University Michael Scriven Western Michigan University Terrence G. Wiley Arizona State University John Willinsky University of British Columbia


Federal, State, and District Level English Langua ge Learner Program Entry and Exit Requirements 31 EDUCATION POLICY ANALYSIS ARCHIVES English-language Graduate -Student Editorial Board Noga Admon New York University Jessica Allen University of Colorado Cheryl Aman University of British Columbia Anne Black University of Connecticut Marisa Cannata Michigan State University Chad d'Entremont Teachers College Columbia University Carol Da Silva Harvard University Tara Donahue Michigan State University Camille Farrington University of Illinois Chicago Chris Frey Indiana University Amy Garrett Dikkers University of Minnesota Misty Ginicola Yale University Jake Gross Indiana University Hee Kyung Hong Loyola University Chicago Jennifer Lloyd University of British Columbia Heather Lord Yale University Shereeza Mohammed Florida Atlantic University Ben Superfine University of Michigan John Weathers University of Pennsylvania Kyo Yamashiro University of California Los Angeles


Education Policy Analysis Archives Vol. 14 No. 20 32 Archivos Analticos de Polticas Educativas Associate Editors Gustavo E. Fischman & Pablo Gentili Arizona State University & Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro Founding Associate Editor for Spanish Language (1998003) Roberto Rodrguez Gmez Editorial Board Hugo Aboites Universidad Autnoma Metropolitana-Xochimilco Adrin Acosta Universidad de Guadalajara Mxico Claudio Almonacid Avila Universidad Metropolitana de Ciencias de la Educacin, Chile Dalila Andrade de Oliveira Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brasil Alejandra Birgin Ministerio de Educacin, Argentina Teresa Bracho Centro de Investigacin y Docencia Econmica-CIDE Alejandro Canales Universidad Nacional Autnoma de Mxico Ursula Casanova Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona Sigfredo Chiroque Instituto de Pedagoga Popular, Per Erwin Epstein Loyola University, Chicago, Illinois Mariano Fernndez Enguita Universidad de Salamanca. Espaa Gaudncio Frigotto Universidade Estadual do Rio de Janeiro, Brasil Rollin Kent Universidad Autnoma de Puebla. Puebla, Mxico Walter Kohan Universidade Estadual do Rio de Janeiro, Brasil Roberto Leher Universidade Estadual do Rio de Janeiro, Brasil Daniel C. Levy University at Albany, SUNY, Albany, New York Nilma Limo Gomes Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte Pia Lindquist Wong California State University, Sacramento, California Mara Loreto Egaa Programa Interdisciplinario de Investigacin en Educacin Mariano Narodowski Universidad To rcuato Di Tella, Argentina Iolanda de Oliveira Universidade Federal Fluminense, Brasil Grover Pango Foro Latinoamericano de Polticas Educativas, Per Vanilda Paiva Universidade Estadual Do Rio De Janeiro, Brasil Miguel Pereira Catedratico Un iversidad de Granada, Espaa Angel Ignacio Prez Gmez Universidad de Mlaga Mnica Pini Universidad Nacional de San Martin, Argentina Romualdo Portella do Oliveira Universidade de So Paulo Diana Rhoten Social Science Research Council, New York, New York Jos Gimeno Sacristn Universidad de Valencia, Espaa Daniel Schugurensky Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, Canada Susan Street Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropologia Social Occidente, Guadalajara, Mxico Nelly P. Stromquist University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California Daniel Suarez Laboratorio de Politicas Publicas-Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina Antonio Teodoro Universidade Lusfona Lisboa, Carlos A. Torres UCLA Jurjo Torres Santom Universidad de la Corua, Espaa

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