Kindergarten English Learners’ Time to Proficiency in Philadelphia

Summary: This study provides evidence on the progress toward English proficiency of English Learner students (ELs) who entered the School District of Philadelphia in kindergarten during 2008–09 through 2011–12. Using data from these four kindergarten cohorts, the study examines English proficiency upon entering school, the percentage who achieved proficiency within four years, and characteristics of students who were more likely to reach proficiency.

The study is motivated by the fact that almost 60% of the new EL entrants to the School District of Philadelphia between 2009–10 and 2013–14 were in kindergarten through third grade, with 37% entering as kindergarteners. Although these young students encounter the dual challenge of adapting to school routines and expectations while also learning English, acquiring English proficiency early in their school years will enable them to take full advantage of opportunities to learn academic content and skills.

Authors: Joshua Lin and Ruth Curran Neild

Date: June 2017

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