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Re-examining Reclassification: Guidance from a National Working Session on Policies and Practices for Exiting Students from English Learner Status

By Robert Linquanti, H. Gary Cook


Exiting a student from English learner status is a high-stakes decision. A premature exit may place a student who still requires specialized support related to her linguistic needs at risk of academic failure. And unnecessary prolonging of English learner status can limit educational opportunities, lead to stigmatization, lower teacher expectations, and demoralize students.

This paper examines the issues and options associated with reclassifying English learners to fluent English proficient status. Specifically, the paper provides:

  • A recap of the significant issues and tensions surrounding current English learner reclassification policies and practices within and across states
  • Guidance to districts, states, and multi-state consortia, addressing key challenges and concerns for moving toward more common English learner reclassification criteria and methods
  • Identification of reclassification criteria and processes that can be feasibly implemented in state and local contexts
  • Suggestions for approaches and strategies moving forward

This paper was cowritten by Robert Linquanti, former Project Director for English Learner Evaluation and Accountability Support, and Senior Researcher for the California Comprehensive Center at WestEd. It is the fourth in a series of guidance papers designed to support states in moving toward a common definition of English learner.

Additional Papers in This Series

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Product Information

Copyright: 2015
Format: PDF
Pages: 49
Publisher: Council of Chief State School Officers