Principals often have little time to decide the grade in which to place older immigrant English-language learners entering U.S. schools for the first time, but their choices, finds a study in the October issue of Education Evaluation and Policy Analysis.
George Washington University researcher Dylan Conger studied nearly 14,000 English-learners ages 7 to 12, who entered the Miami-Dade public schools in Florida from 2003 to 2007, under a policy that assigned them by their age on Sept. 1.
Focusing on students whose birthdays fell right on either side of that cutoff, researchers found that students who were placed in the lower grade had higher long-term mathematics performance. Students’ grade placement did not affect their reading performance, grade promotion or chance of attaining English proficiency within two years of starting school.
A version of this article appeared in the October 30, 2013 edition of Education Week as English-Language Learners