Transitioning English Language Learners in Massachusetts: An Exploratory Data Review

This paper explores several questions about students who are English language learners (ELL) in Massachusetts. For how many years is a typical ELL student in Massachusetts classified as limited English proficient (LEP)? How much variation is there in the number of years it takes to exit a student from ELL services and LEP status, and does this suggest different policies and practices at the district level? How do formerly LEP students perform on MCAS tests relative to the number of years they were classified as LEP, and do they perform better if they exited LEP status relatively sooner than later? How predictive are MEPA scores in determining when ELL students transition out of LEP status? The paper reviews the data that bear on these questions to help identify successful approaches for transitioning ELL students out of LEP status and into the general education program.