Expert Podcast: Understanding How English Learners Count in ESSA Reporting

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Under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), states must report a wide range of information about their students’ English language arts and math standardized test scores, graduation rates, and more. They must also break these data down to show how students with certain characteristics—subgroups including racial/ethnic groups, students with disabilities, and English Learners (ELs)—are doing. This wealth of data is meant to help policymakers, practitioners, and community members identify schools that need to do a better job of helping ELs learn. But for this to be possible, it must be clear who states are including in the EL subgroup—something that varies across types of data and that is not always clear marked on state student performance reports or online dashboards. This podcast features a discussion between the Migration Policy Institute’s Margie McHugh and Julie Sugarman about how to understand the varying composition of the EL subgroup, and why understanding these technical differences matters when making decisions about how ELs and schools are faring. They also talk about different groups of ELs: newcomers, students with interrupted formal education, and long-term ELs, and data collection around these different subgroups. The related report can be found here:

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