Why are Graduation Rates so Low? Taylor Colonna
After viewing this PowerPoint,students will be able to… Understand what factors contribute to the high drop- out rate of English Language Learners (ELLs) Take into consideration what research suggests should be done in order to decrease the drop-out rate among this population of students.
Drop-Out Rates Many states and school districts are not tracking the graduation rates of ELLs; and some are not accurately reporting their numbers (Zehr, 2009). Out of a total of 50 Virginia migrant students, only 11 received a high school diploma (Perritt, 2001). In another study, more than 60% of African American and Latino students they followed did not graduate (McNeil, Coppola, Radigan, & Heilig, 2008).
Why are they so low? Poor academic achievement – most often seen in the area of reading (Bowman-Perrott, Herrera, & Murry, 2010) Lack of communication: deep “disconnects” between schools, students’ families, and communities The educational system was designed for the mainstream, middle-class student, and policies have not been properly adapted (Housman & Martinez, 2002). Teachers sometimes found it difficult to communicate with immigrant parents (Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, 2001).
More Contributing Factors… ELLs are not given the services they need The NY State Education Dept. failed to provide adequate services in agreement with established laws for ELLs: Required English classes; trained & certified ESL and bilingual teachers; lack of extended day, weekend, and year-round programs (Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, 2002). Lack of teacher support services Proper placement of students into classrooms was not timely Not given appropriate classroom materials and supplies Not provided with proper professional development (Robert Clark Sterling Clark Foundation, 2001)
There’s More… High-stakes testing: disaggregation by race when it comes to standardized test scores does not increase fairness. Instead, ELLs are pushed out of schools; and if they drop-out, schools show “measureable improvement” (McNeil, Coppola, Radigan, & Heilig, 2008). Cultural Implications - teachers have low expectations, along with ELLs themselves (King, 2007). Interrupted education due to migration, lack of education facilities, and economic circumstances. Difficult to attend school, learn at grade level, accumulate credits, and meet graduation requirements (DeCapua, Smathers, & Tang, 2007; Green, 2003; Perritt, 2001)
What canEducators do? Solution to low academic achievement: provide early and intensive reading interventions, which include: Vocabulary instruction, error correction, peer and cooperative learning groupings (Bowman-Perrott, Herrera, & Murry, 2010). Pull-out sessions with tutors and small group instruction during class reading periods (Slavin & Madden, 1995).
Improving Communication To improve communication and connectedness: School policies adapted to serve the needs of a diverse population of students. Schools’ relationships with families and communities must be more responsive, collaborative, and student- centered (Housman & Martinez, 2002).1. Provide a rigorous, culturally, and socially relevant curriculum2. Provide resources needed to create a linguistically and diverse environment3. Make all levels of the system accountable for student success4. Establish a collaborative partnership for schools and families
More Solutions… To increase the support of ELLs and their teachers, school districts must: Provide intensive English language instruction Provide an extended school day and year Provide professional development for bilingual/ESL teachers Encourage certified teachers to teach ELLs Expand bilingual and ESL teacher recruitment efforts Communicate effectively with parents of ELLs – schools may need interpreters and translation services (Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, 2001; 2002).
Decreasing the Drop-Out Rate To increase test-performance, schools must become more culturally competent. King (2007) proposes 3 roles for school leaders: Goalsetter – assign the most at-risk students to the most creative and successful teachers Instructional leader – individualize instruction based on test scores; identifies strengths and weaknesses Culturally competent leader – eliminate achievement stereotypes in administration and teachers
ELL Charter Schools ELL charter schools see good academic growth and dramatic decreases in drop out rates. A California charter school saw a 97% graduation rate. All graduates attended college, and 62% of them were admitted to a four-year institution What they do differently: Driven by data – identify what’s working and what is not Parent coordinators keep parents engaged High teacher quality and administrative support Focuses on either college or career preparationDessoff, A. (2010). English language learner charter schools. District Administration, 46(2), 32-38.
The BIG IDEAS of ELL Drop-Out Rates Since the ELL population is expanding so rapidly, it is important for school officials to pay close attention to their academic progress and graduation rates. It is evident that with proper support, ELLs can achieve academically, have a higher chance of graduating, and even attend college. Educators must keep in mind the diversity of their students and provide more unique instruction when possible.
ReferencesBowman-Perrott, L. J., Herrera, S., & Murry, K. (2010). Reading difficulties and grade retention: What’s the connection for English language learners? Reading & Writing Quarterly, 26(1), 91-107.Dessoff, A. (2010). English language learner charter schools. District Administration, 46(2), 32-38.DeCapua, A., Smathers, W., & Tang, L. F. (2007). Schooling Interrupted: Schools can help English language learners who have experienced sizeable gaps in their formal education. Educational Leadership, 64(6), 40-46.Green, P. E. (2003). The undocumented: Educating the children of migrant workers in America. Bilingual Research Journal, 27(1), 51-71.Housman, N. G., & Martinez, M. R. (2002). Preventing school dropout and ensuring success for English language learners and native American students. (Report No. ED-99-CO-0137). Washington, D.C.: Office of Educational Research and Improvement. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED466343)King, N. J. (2007). Exit strategies: Cultural implications for graduation tests. Principal Leadership, 8(1), 42-47.
McNeil, L. M., Coppola, E., Radigan, J., & Heilig, J. V. (2008). Avoidable losses: High-stakes accountability and the dropout crisis. Education Poicy Analysis Archives,16(3), 1-48.Perritt, D. C. (2001). The impact of school and contextual factors on the graduation rates of Virginia migrant students. (Doctoral dissertation, College of William and Mary, 2001).Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, Inc. (2001, February). Report from the front lines: What’s needed to make New York’s ESL and bilingual programs succeed. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED466343)Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, Inc. (2002, June). Creating a formula for success: Why English language learner students are dropping out of school, and how to increase graduation rates. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED467109)Slavin, R. E., & Madden, N. A. (1995). Effects of success for all on the achievement of English language learners. (Report No. R117D40005). Philadelphia, PA: Pew Charitable Trusts. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED388050)Zehr, M. A. (2009). Graduation rates on ELLs a mystery. Education Week, 29(3), 20-21.
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