Date: October 2, 2015
Speaker: Joseph P. Robinson-Cimpian, Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Lecture Title: Studying the effects of test-based policies for reclassifying English Learners
Abstract: Language-minority students who enter the school system as English Learners (ELs) are expected, during their time as students, to be reclassified as Fluent English Proficient (R-FEP). Policy considerations tend to focus on increasing the speed with which ELs are reclassified. While attaining English proficiency is indeed important, we also need to keep in mind that ELs and R-FEPs often receive different instructional bundles (e.g., services, settings, teachers, peers). Thus, it is imperative to evaluate reclassification effects on academic outcomes and reconsider the policies accordingly. In this talk, I will discuss research I have conducted on the effects of reclassification policies on students’ subsequent achievement and graduation. These studies use advanced statistical techniques and reveal that reclassification policies can indeed affect achievement and graduation (and often do so in surprising, counterintuitive ways). I will illustrate these patterns with data from two large urban schools districts in California, as well statewide data from two states.