English-Language Learners

What High School Education Looks Like for the Nation’s English-Learners

By Corey Mitchell — October 12, 2016 1 min read

A national survey of districts that serve high school-aged English-language learners found that roughly two-thirds of districts provide English-as-a- second-language instruction for students.

Conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics, the first-of-its-kind survey aimed to provide a national look at the programs and services available to English-learners enrolled in the nation’s public high schools.

Based on information collected in fall 2015, the survey findings are based on self-reported data from 1,700 public school districts that educate an estimated 774,500 English-learners.

The questionnaire used to collect the data asked about topics such as teaching methods, technology use, access to translation and interpretation services, and opportunities for English-learners ages 18 to 21.

The survey found that nearly half of the participating districts (47 percent) use sheltered English-instruction, a system where ELLs with limited English proficiency are taught in stand-alone classrooms. Critics contend that such programs can delay ELLs’ access to regular classroom content.

Among the survey’s other findings:


  • Forty-three percent of districts have tutoring services designed for English-learners.
  • Sixteen percent of districts have newcomer programs for English-learners.
  • Fifty-eight percent reported that English-learners used online or computer-based English-language acquisition programs.

Here’s a look at the survey:

Programs and Services for High School English Learners in Public School Districts 2015-16 by corey_c_mitchell on Scribd

Related Stories

An Illustrated Guide to the ABCs of English-Language Learner Education

The Struggles Undocumented Immigrants Face at High School Graduation

Quality Learning Materials Are Scarce for English-Language Learners

New York Expands Services for Families Who Speak Little or No English

Photo credit: Kenia, who came to the United States from Honduras, participates in a graduation award ceremony at her Charlotte, N.C., high school. -- Chris Keane for Education Week

A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.