AN ANALYSIS OF THE READING ACHIEVEMENT GAP BETWEEN NON-ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS AND ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS IN KANSAS PUBLIC SCHOOLS
University of Kansas
Curriculum and Teaching
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The rapid increase of ESOL students and the slow increase of qualified ESOL teachers in the public schools of the State of Kansas directed the researcher’s attention to investigate how the reading achievement gap between the non-ESOL and ESOL groups changed over the time of the study. This study examined how the reading achievement gap between the two groups changed over the five years of data collected and how the gap between the groups was expected to differ at the elementary, middle and high school levels. In addition, this study investigated how the number of teachers with ESOL endorsement and the number of ESOL students who received ESOL services influenced the non-ESOL and ESOL groups’ reading achievement. The effects of time, three school levels (i.e. elementary, middle and high school) and two time-varying predictors (i.e. ESOL teacher and ESOL student predictors) were analyzed using a multilevel model of growth. The study found that the effects of the ESOL teacher and ESOL student predictors showed a more significant influence on the outcome of different levels (i.e. class, school, and district) and different school levels of the non-ESOL group rather than the ESOL group. The ESOL student predictor was negatively correlated with the non-ESOL group’s outcome at all levels (between-district of all school levels, within-class high school and within-district middle school). Examination of the policy for teachers to become qualified to teach ESOL students suggested that having more teachers who are endorsed in teaching ESOL students would positively impact both the non-ESOL and ESOL groups’ reading growth. Finally, the results of the study confirmed the urgent need for the development of high school ESOL students’ academic literacy because the gap in reading outcomes between the elementary and high school ESOL groups was not expected to narrow as fast as the gap in outcomes between the elementary and high school non-ESOL groups.
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