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English learners reclassification and academic achievement: Evidence from Minnesota

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  • Onda, Masayuki
  • Seyler, Edward

Abstract

Providing appropriate learning environments for students who are not native English speakers is an important element of ensuring equal access to education for students from diverse ethnic backgrounds. This study evaluates the process for reclassifying English learner (EL) students as English proficient. Exploiting the threshold-based reclassification policy in Minnesota, we use a regression discontinuity design to recover counterfactuals— how much would EL students who were not reclassified due to the reclassification policy have improved in academic achievement had they been reclassified? We find that reclassification had no discernible effect on math and reading scores for 3rd-grade EL students, while reclassification increased the math scores of 6th-grade EL students. Our subgroup analysis finds that the positive effects of reclassification mostly depend on the large estimates in the first-year cohort of EL students. Taken altogether, these results imply that reclassification was unlikely to harm the 3rd- and 6th-grade EL students.

Suggested Citation

  • Onda, Masayuki & Seyler, Edward, 2020. "English learners reclassification and academic achievement: Evidence from Minnesota," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 79(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:79:y:2020:i:c:s027277572030529x
    DOI: 10.1016/j.econedurev.2020.102043
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Regression discontinuity designs; Nonrandom selection; English learners; Resource allocation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination

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