Journal article

The impact of English Learner reclassification on high school reading and academic progress


By: Angela Johnson


This study estimates the causal impact of 8th grade English learner (EL) reclassification on high school English language arts (ELA) standardized test scores, SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) reading, and on-track to graduate status. I apply a regression discontinuity design to rich administrative data from a large district in California. The estimated effects of eighth grade reclassification on 9th, 10th, and 11th grade ELA test scores were statistically insignificant, and I can rule out negative effects less than −0.17 SDs and positive effects larger than 0.09 SDs. The negative effect on SAT reading was fairly large, with a confidence interval of −0.27 SDs to 0.05 SDs. Estimates for on-track status in 10th and 11th grades were positive but imprecise.

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