Does the Age at Which an English Language Learner Is Re-Designated Impact Their Success Rate on State Tests Such as the CAHSEE in ELA?

Under the U.S. Supreme Court's interpretation of the Civil Rights Act in Lau V. Nichols (1974), local school districts and states have an obligation to provide appropriate services to Limited-English-Proficient students (in California now referred to as EL or English Learner students), but policymakers have long debated setting time limits for students to receive such services. (Hakuta, January 2000) The purpose of this paper is to determine if we have given sufficient services to EL students prior to them being re-designated in the Bonita Unified School District. (The name of the school has been changed to protect the identity of the students.) This study reports on data based on the passage rate of sophomores the first time that they took the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) in March 2005. Once the passage rate was determined, the study was conducted by identifying the LEP status of all of the students who did not pass the CAHSSEE on that first attempt. They were divided into four categories: English Only (EO), Initial Fluent English Proficient (IFEP), Re-designated Fluent English Proficient (RFEP) and current English Learner (EL). Students who did not pass the exam in March 2005 were grouped by their LEP status. Once they were grouped by their LEP status, their EL enter date was added for the English Learners and the date of re-designation was added into the excel sheet for those who had been re-designated. The RFEP students who did not pass were looked at closely to determine the date of re-designation, the services that they received and whether they had been successful in ELA since their re-designation. It was determined that most of the RFEP students struggling with the CAHSEE the first time that they took it were re-designated in 1999 and 2000. These students could have been re-designated in response to Proposition 227.