The length of time students with limited English skills should spend in English-proficiency programs has become a hotly contested political issue, as well as an academic one. A General Accounting Office report concludes it can take from four to eight years for students to develop the language skills needed to perform on a par with native English-speakers.
|Percentage of students who spent...|
NOTES: *Ten percent of New Jersey LEP students who exited a program in the 1998-99 academic year had been enrolled in language-assistance programs for five years or more. The percentage staying in programs five years or less cannot be determined.
**Data based on a five-year study of LEP students in public schools from 1992-93 to 1996-97. The percentage of students staying beyond five years cannot be determined.
SOURCE: U.S. General Accounting Office, 2001.
A version of this article appeared in the March 07, 2001 edition of Education Week as Time Spent in English- Proficiency Programs