Study Finds Grades Give 'Early Warning' on ELL Dropouts
How well English-language learners perform in their 9th grade courses in Chicago’s public high schools is a much stronger predictor of their graduation prospects than their language proficiency, regardless of students’ race or ethnicity, or the length of time they have been receiving language instruction, according to a new study.
Specifically, English-learners’ absence rates and course failures in their freshman year, along with grade-point average and the number of credits they’ve earned—the so-called “early warning” signs used to identify students most at risk of dropping out of school—are more predictive of their later high school graduation than their level of proficiency in English or whether they have experienced interruptions in their schooling. Overall, the study found the early-warning indicators to be as predictive of graduation for English-learners as they were for students who have never been ELLs.
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