A new study helps determine when to identify long-term English learners.

Identifying long-term English learners can help students’ academic progress


A new study suggests when to identify long-term English learners--students who take longer to become proficient in English

Students who begin elementary school and haven’t become proficient at speaking English after five years in school should be identified as what educators call “long-term English learners” (LTELs), according to a new paper from Rice University researchers.

The report from the Houston Education Research Consortium (HERC), a program of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research, aims to standardize the definition of an LTEL to help educators identify students who may need more help learning English. It is part of a broader study seeking to better understand students classified as LTELs.

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HERC researchers Daniel Potter and Lizzy Cashiola make their recommendation in “Long-term English Learners (LTELs): Predictors, Patterns and Outcomes Brief 1: Defining LTEL,” the first report from a larger study of LTELs in 10 Houston-area public school districts.

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