English Learners’ Pathways through English Language Arts and Beyond: A Statewide Examination
Ilana Umansky

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Research Development Award

Award Year



University of Oregon

Primary Discipline

In Oregon, English learner-classified students (ELs) are between two and eight times less likely than non-ELs to be enrolled in English language arts (ELA) coursework each year of high school. Yet these courses are required for graduation, likely contributing to the large graduation rate gap between ELs and non-ELs. With this project, I seek to answer three closely-related questions including (1) the scope and characteristics of secondary-age ELs’ access to ELA coursework, (2) the impact of EL status on ELA access and graduation including the mediating role of ELA enrollment on graduation, and (3) how specific levers are associated with increased access to, and successful completion of, ELA. This study draws on longitudinal, student-level data from the state of Oregon and uses quantitative methods including regression discontinuity, hierarchical linear modeling, and path analysis. The study promises to contribute to theory and understanding of tracking and opportunity to learn, specifically as they relate to ELs, just as it also will build understanding of how to address equity barriers and expand ELs’ learning opportunities at the secondary level. Importantly, the project builds on existing partnerships with agencies eager to enact beneficial policies and practices for ELs.
About Ilana Umansky
Ilana Umansky is an Assistant Professor of Educational Methodology, Policy and Leadership at the University of Oregon. Her work explores how education policy impacts the educational opportunities and outcomes of immigrant, multilingual and English learner-classified students using largescale data, and longitudinal and quasi-experimental methods. She holds a PhD from Stanford University in Sociology of Education and is particularly interested in topics such as labeling and tracking as she focuses on how to create equitable school systems for immigrant and multilingual students. Her work appears in journals including the American Educational Research Journal, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, the Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, Educational Leadership, and Exceptional Children. Her work has received funding and awards from institutions including the Institute of Education Sciences, AERA?s Bilingual Education Research Special Interest Group, the Jacobs Foundation, the Council of Chief State School Officers, the Fulbright Foundation, the National Academy of Education, and the Spencer Foundation..

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