Friday, July 19, 2013

The Great City Schools Report on ELLs: Three very short comments

The Great City Schools Report on ELLs: Three very short comments
S Krashen

1. "The results showed wide gaps in reading and mathematics between ELLs and non-ELLs."
Comment: If the results did not show gaps between ELLs and non-ELLs, the ELLs would not be ELLs. 
2. " ….  trend lines suggest that ELLs have not made meaningful progress academically between 2005 and 2011 …". 
Comment: We would not expect ELLs as a group to "improve"; when ELLs make sufficient progress, they are reclassified as non-ELL. The group average test score thus stays about the same. 
3. "The percentage of ELLs scoring at or above proficient in grade 4 reading in large cities remained stagnant from 2005 to 2011, with only about five to six percent scoring at or above proficient" (p. 73).
Comment: This means that five to six percent have been misclassified. A student who scores proficient or above should not be classified as ELL. 

From: English Language Learners in America’s Great City Schools: Demographics, Achievement, and Staffing (Council of the Great City Schools Washington, DC)


  1. Thanks for the feedback! I also considered the issue of reclassification and measuring achievement when discussing the gains or lack thereof of ELL achievement. Unfortunately, I was unable to delve deeper into the discussion as we were focusing on descriptive statistics. However the understanding of data for former ELLs serves to mitigate for that issue, in theory.

    Regarding your comment on grade 4 "proficiency," the section under discussion was describing ELLs' achievement in reading as defined by NAEP, rather than their degree of proficiency in English as a language. One may perform above proficient in NAEP reading and still be classified as an ELL under the district and state's guidelines.