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The Marginal effect of K-12 English language development programs: Evidence from Los Angeles Schools

Nolan G. Pope

Economics of Education Review, 2016, vol. 53, issue C, 311-328

Abstract: The growing number of K-12 non-native English speaking students increases the value of optimizing education policy to meet their academic needs. Using a regression discontinuity in test scores from the Los Angeles Unified School District, I analyze the optimal age and English proficiency level for students to enter and exit English language development (ELD) programs. I find marginal kindergarteners receive small academic gains from entering ELD classes. Marginal 2nd to 4th graders who are reclassified from ELD to mainstream English classes receive large benefits to their English test scores (0.25 SD) and GPA that persist over the next 7 years. Boys receive the majority of the benefits. I find no evidence that students reclassified in later grades receive any benefit. Achievement gains can be obtained by enrolling more students into ELD programs in kindergarten and choosing to transition them into mainstream English classes sooner.

Keywords: School; Students; English; Los Angeles; Language; Spanish; Test; California (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I24 I28 J15 H75 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016
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