The Role of Schools in the English Language Learner Achievement Gap


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June 2008-This report includes an Executive Summary. The report quantifies the extent of ELL concentration in low-achieving public schools and the degree to which this isolation is associated with the large achievement gap in mathematics between ELL students and other major student groups. The report finds that when ELL students are not isolated in low-achieving schools, their gap in test score results is considerably narrower. The report suggests that the lag in test score achievement of ELL students is attributable in part to the characteristics of the public school they attend. Such characteristics include the fact that the schools were located in central cities rather than suburbs or rural areas, such schools reported higher student enrollments, student-to-teacher ratios were higher, schools were more likely to be “high-poverty”, and schools that report the assessment of test scores of ELL students had a much lower proportion of white students attending them compared to schools that do not report the assessment scores of ELL students because they have few ELL students.

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