Associate Professor and College of Education Distinguished Scholar at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
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 several research studies I have conducted on the effects of reclassification policies on students’ subsequent achievement and graduation. These studies 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. The findings highlight important connections between policies, assessments, and instruction. The talk concludes with implications from this research for future evaluations and policies, including the Every Student Succeeds Act.
Joseph P. Robinson-Cimpian, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor and College of Education Distinguished Scholar at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He earned a M.A. in Economics and a Ph.D. in Economics of Education, both from Stanford University. His research focuses on the use and development of novel and rigorous methods to study equity and policy, particularly concerning sexual minorities, women, and language minorities. With his colleagues, he recently examined how bullying relates to psychological disparities between sexual-minority and heterosexual youth, how teachers’ expectations of girls’ and boys’ math abilities predict growth in the gender gap, and how well-intentioned education policies may hinder achievement for English Learners. His work has been funded by the Spencer Foundation, the AERA Grants Board, and the Institute of Education Sciences. His research has been published in some of the top journals in education, psychology, health, and policy, and has been featured by the New York Times, USA Today, and NPR.