San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) provides English Learner (EL) students with a variety of instructional program options, including English Immersion programs, Bilingual Programs, and Dual (Two-way) Immersion Programs. Moreover, the district has a very diverse EL student population, with 40 percent of Latina/o, 40 percent Chinese, and 20 percent from a wide range of other language/ethnic backgrounds. For the past two years, SFUSD has partnered with researchers at Stanford University to investigate the effectiveness of these different instructional programs for EL students, and to examine whether they are equally effective for Latina/o and Chinese EL students. In this seminar, Sean Reardon and Ritu Khanna will present the findings from this study, including the effects of different EL instructional programs on English language acquisition (CELDT scores), academic skills (CST scores), and reclassification rates.
Schools are under increasing pressure to reclassify their English learner (EL) students to “Fluent English proficient” status as quickly as possible. This paper examines timing to reclassification among Latino ELs in four distinct linguistic instructional environments: English immersion, transitional bilingual, maintenance bilingual, and dual immersion. Using hazard analysis and 12 years of data from a large school district, the paper investigates whether reclassification timing, patterns, or barriers differ by linguistic program. We find that Latino students enrolled in two language programs are reclassified at a slower pace in elementary school, but have higher overall reclassification, English proficiency, and academic threshold passage by the end of high school. We discuss the implications of these findings on accountability policies and educational opportunities in EL programs.