About two-thirds of kindergarten EL students knew and used minimal English when they entered school: 49% of the kindergarten EL students placed at the lowest English language proficiency (ELP) level at entrance to school (ELP Level 1), and an additional 19% placed at ELP Level 2. About 32% of the kindergarteners placed at ELP Levels 3, 4, 5, or 6.
The percentage of students who were more proficient in English at school entry increased across cohorts between 2008–09 and 2011–12: 27% of students in the 2008–09 cohort placed at ELP Level 3 or above, compared to 41% of students in the 2011–12 cohort.
Almost 60% of kindergarten EL students achieved English proficiency within four years of starting school. By the end of first grade, 12% of the ELs who had entered in kindergarten had achieved English proficiency, and an additional 17% were proficient by the end of second grade. By the end of third grade, an additional 30% had reached English proficiency.
Some groups of students were more likely than others to achieve proficiency within four years. English proficiency rates were higher among female students and students who were not identified with a disability. Relative to Spanish speakers, students who spoke Arabic, Chinese, Khmer, or Vietnamese were more likely to achieve English proficiency within four years.
Students who were more proficient in English when they entered school were more likely to reach proficiency within four years: 53% of students who entered at ELP Level 1 reached proficiency within four years, compared to 62% and 68% of students who entered at ELP Levels 2 and 3, respectively.
More students became proficient in oral language than in literacy. Within four years, 81% of kindergarten ELs were proficient in oral language, compared to 63% in literacy. A key driver of the lower proficiency rate in literacy is writing, with a 48% proficiency rate.
The full report can be downloaded at https://3l59p62inu0t2sj11u1hh23l-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/PERC-ELL-Trajectory-Web-version-1.pdf.