The Education of JAIME CAPELLAN: English Learner Success in California Schools

Author(s): Joanne Jacobs
Posted in: Education

Some of the highest-performing students in California public schools are children who knew little English when they started kindergarten but achieved proficiency in elementary school. “English Learners” who are reclassifi ed as fluent and proficient often outperform native English speakers on a range of standardized tests, including tests of English reading. They are more likely to take college-prep courses in high school.

School districts have widely varying policies for reclassifying these children once they learn English. While 29 percent of them scored well enough on the California English Language Development Test to qualify as profi cient in 2007, only 9.2 percent were reclassified.

This paper examines factors contributing to these reclassification rates, and examines the success of students after they have been redesignated. It includes data from school districts with large English learner populations, including CAT/6 test scores, discusses educational approaches used, and demonstrates the relative success of students after they have been reclassified. It discusses statewide trends, as well as findings in school districts including Elk Grove, Corona-Norco, Long Beach and Alvord Unified.

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