Long-term English Learners (LTELs): What factors are associated with the likelihood of an English learner becoming a long-term English learner? (Part 3)

male student

This research brief examines student, campus, and neighborhood characteristics that can be considered risk or protective factors for the likelihood of an English learner (EL) becoming an LTEL (long-term English learner).

The number of long-term English learners (LTELs) in Texas has increased by 90% in the last decade. LTELs are students who have not reclassified as English-proficient after five years in school. This research brief examines student-, campus-, and neighborhood- characteristics that can be considered risk or protective factors for the likelihood of an English learner (EL) becoming LTEL, with the goal of helping school districts identify which students may be at-risk of becoming LTEL.

The report utilizes data from 10 public school districts in the Houston area and builds on several of its previous studies examining English learners and LTELs. 

Key findings include:

Risk and Protective Factors

  • The strongest risk factors for becoming LTEL included grade retention and special education status at any point during elementary school.
  • The strongest protective factor against becoming LTEL was entering first grade with higher English comprehension.

EL Program Type

  • Participating in two or more EL programs was associated with an increased risk of becoming LTEL, regardless of program type.
  • For students who remained in one program during elementary school, students who participated in either a dual-immersion or a bilingual program had a lower likelihood of becoming LTEL than ELs who participated in an ESL program.
  • EL program type mattered differently for students in lower and higher economically disadvantaged campuses.

Photo: Kuanish Reymbaev/Unsplash

HERC Research Report LTEL
Long-term English Learners (LTELs): Predictors, Patterns, & Outcomes, Defining LTEL (Part 1)
Nov. 23, 2020

This is the first in a series of briefs the Houston Education Research Consortium (HERC) will release on long-term English learners (LTELs).

Long-term English Learners (LTELs): Increases in LTELs in Texas (Part 2)
Apr. 14, 2021

This brief highlights the increasing percent of English learners becoming long-term English learners in the last two decades and points to a set of mechanisms that may serve to explain this increase.

English learners
Across Texas, more and more English learner students find the language barrier harder to overcome
RESEARCH :  Apr. 13, 2021

New research from the Houston Education Research Consortium shows that — in both urban and nonurban parts of the state — students learning English are taking longer to become proficient. Texas needs to act now to address the problem and help these students avoid long-term struggles in school.

Long-term English Learners

The Houston Education Research Consortium is conducting a long-term study of long-term English learners in Texas, with a particular focus on 10 Houston-area public school districts.

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