Program Differences in the Development of English Learners in Rural Texas Schools



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Background: Not all districts required to implement a bilingual education program can employ a sufficient number of bilingual certified teachers in grades PK-5. As a result, rural districts find themselves having to file for a bilingual exception with the Texas Education Agency and instead implement an English only English as a Second Language (ESL) program. Purpose: The purpose of this study is to determine the what is the relationship, if any, between third grade TELPAS, English Learner status, and longitudinal STARR results for Spanish-speaking English Learners (ELs) who are participating in bilingual or English as a Second Language (ESL) second language acquisition programs in grades 3-8. Methods: This is a quantitative study that used a descriptive-comparative design to determine to what relationship, if any, exists between the initial TELPAS status in grade three to the grade eight outcome measure, the STAAR. Additional analyses included examining relationships between TELPAS composite for grade three and STAAR Reading achievement data for grades three through eight for the Limited English Proficient (LEP) and former LEP students and for gender. Results: This study compared longitudinal STAAR Reading results for students in three rural Texas schools. The results showed that there is no relationship between the TELPAS composite at third grade and the level of performance on eighth grade STAAR. In addition, students showed a change in the level of performance on the STAAR between the eighth grade than third grade regardless of the language program in which they were participating. Conclusion: This study aimed to examine the relationship third grade TELPAS and longitudinal STAAR data of LEP students as measured by the STAAR Reading test in grades 3-8. The data show that districts have an opportunity to look historically at the STAAR data of their students to ensure that each student is receiving the targeted instruction they need in order to meet the needs of ELs. The results show that most students, regardless of the second language acquisition program, have reached Approached and Meets by the end of eighth grade. What is worth noting is that while this is the case, several students stay at a lower level of performance for two to four years before movement to Meets Grade Level performance as defined by the Texas Education Agency. Thus, schools can do more to move students to grade level performance by analyzing data and targeting instruction.



bilingual, ESL, STAAR, TELPAS, English Learner