The earlier that English-language-learners are reclassified as English-proficient, the more likely they are to graduate from high school, a study from the Regional Educational Laboratory at WestEd found.
The study, which examined high school graduation rates in Arizona for five English-learner-student subgroups, also found that students who entered high school as English-learners were less likely to graduate in four years. The students in each subgroup entered high school during the 2010-11 school year and would have been expected to graduate in spring 2014. Only 49 percent of long-term ELLs—students who have attended school in the United States for four years or more without being reclassified as proficient in English—finished in four years. A group identified as new English-learner students—those who were classified as ELLs after 6th grade and who entered high school with the designation—fared only slightly better, with 52 percent graduating on time.
Among former ELLs who were reclassified as English-proficient between grades 2 and 5, 81 percent graduated on time.
A version of this article appeared in the December 14, 2016 edition of Education Week as English-Language Learners