Publications & Resources

Understanding Patterns and Precursors of ELL Success Subsequent to Reclassification

Aug 2012

Jinok Kim and Joan L. Herman

In English language learners’ (ELLs) reclassification, the tension between assuring sufficient English language proficiency (ELP) in mainstream classrooms and avoiding potential negative consequences of protracted ELL status creates an essential dilemma. This present study focused on ELL students who were reclassified around the time they finished elementary school (specifically students reclassified at Grades 4, 5, or 6) and attempted to examine whether the reclassification decisions used for these students are valid and supportive of their subsequent learning. In doing so, this paper also explores methods that allow for drawing sound inferences on student learning subsequent to reclassification. Recent advances in growth modeling are drawn upon to make comparisons in subsequent learning more meaningful. The study found that although there is evidence that reclassified ELLs tend to continue to catch up to their non-ELL peers after reclassification, the magnitudes may be very modest in virtual scale values over the grades and insufficient to attain proficiency. The study also found that there was no evidence of former ELLs falling behind in academic growth after reclassification, either relative to their non-ELL peers or in terms of absolute academic proficiency levels.

Kim, J., & Herman, J. L. (2012). Understanding patterns and precursors of ELL success subsequent to reclassification (CRESST Report 818). Los Angeles: University of California, Los Angeles, National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST).