¿Exito en California? A Validity Critique of Language Program Evaluations and Analysis of English Learner Test Scores

Marilyn S. Thompson, Kristen E. DiCerbo, Kate Mahoney, Jeff MacSwan

Abstract


Several states have recently faced ballot initiatives that propose to functionally eliminate bilingual education in favor of English-only approaches. Proponents of these initiatives have argued an overall rise in standardized achievement scores of California's limited English proficient (LEP) students is largely due to the implementation of English immersion programs mandated by Proposition 227 in 1998, hence, they claim Exito en California (Success in California). However, many such arguments presented in the media were based on flawed summaries of these data. We first discuss the background, media coverage, and previous research associated with California's Proposition 227. We then present a series of validity concerns regarding use of Stanford-9 achievement data to address policy for educating LEP students; these concerns include the language of the test, alternative explanations, sample selection, and data analysis decisions. Finally, we present a comprehensive summary of scaled-score achievement means and trajectories for California's LEP and non-LEP students for 1998-2000. Our analyses indicate that although scores have risen overall, the achievement gap between LEP and EP students does not appear to be narrowing.

Keywords


Academic Achievement; Elementary Secondary Education; Immersion Programs; Limited English Speaking; Political Influences; Scores; State Programs; Test Results

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14507/epaa.v10n7.2002

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