both have ELL graduation rates of less than 30 percent, less than half the national average of 62.6 percent.
The study from the Regional Education Laboratory at WestEd found that, in Arizona and Nevada, older ELLs had difficulty passing state math and language arts exams, even if they had tested out of English-proficiency support programs. The WestEd researchers examined two cohorts of English-learner students in each state—one cohort of 3rd graders and one of 6th graders—over three years.
Students in the 6th grade cohort reclassified as English proficient continued to struggle with the “higher demands” of state English/language arts and math exams, much more than the 3rd grade students. The researchers argue that the older ELL students still need intense support, most likely something different from what they’re already getting.
The study acknowledges that the results may not apply to other states. Arizona and Nevada both have ELL graduation rates of less than 30 percent, less than half the national average of 62.6 percent.
A version of this article appeared in the October 26, 2016 edition of Education Week as English-Language Learning