Does ESSA Harm ELL Graduates?

Does ESSA Harm ELL Graduates?

June 6, 2019

Language Magazine reports on a new Migration Policy Institute studyThe Unintended Consequences for English Learners of Using the Four-Year Graduation Rate for School Accountability—which “provides a profile of high school ELs and examines causes of dropout, how graduation rates are calculated, and the effects of these rates on students and instructional models.” The report finds “that reliance on a school’s four-year graduation rate for federal performance-accountability purposes can create negative consequences for English learners (ELs), as well as the schools that serve them, since these students often require additional time to develop academic proficiency in English and complete the full range of courses required to obtain a high school diploma.” Language also notes that ESSA accountability plans must include “each school system’s rate of getting students to graduate within a four-year period beginning at the start of ninth grade.” And while “states can supplement their calculation of the four-year graduation rate with an extended-year rate,” just “16 states and the District of Columbia have chosen not to,” and together “these states serve 60% of the nation’s estimated 5 million ELs.”