Always an “English Learner”: Learning From the Veterans of EL Educational Systems
Maneka Brooks

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



Texas State University

Primary Discipline

Second Language Learning/Bilingual Education
The assessment of English language proficiency plays a powerful role in the educational trajectory of bilingual students in the United States. Among other consequences, the results of these assessment practices can impact students’ access to courses and the pedagogical approaches that are deemed appropriate for their educational success. While there is a growing body of research that seeks to ensure effective and consistent English language assessment processes, the voices of high school students who are considered long-term English learners (LTELs) are frequently overlooked. This study adds a detailed and systematic study of their perspectives to this literature. Specifically, it investigates how high school students who are considered to be LTELs interpret their experiences with English language proficiency assessments and explain their on-going classification as ELs. As both current and veteran participants, they have intimate and extensive experiences with English language proficiency assessment practices that warrant further investigation. This multi-site study will contribute to research that is necessary to create more equitable English language assessment and schooling practices for students classified as ELs.
About Maneka Brooks
Maneka Deanna Brooks is an assistant professor of reading education at Texas State University. Dr. Brooks’ research agenda centers on everyday educational practices that impact the educational trajectories of bilingual adolescents. Her publications span the topics of bilingualism, adolescent literacy instruction, language proficiency and assessment, course placement, and teacher education. Dr. Brooks’ existing research with adolescents who are considered to be long-term English learners (LTELs) is emblematic of this focus. Her research underscores how their English literacy abilities demonstrate both a multifaceted knowledge of English and their histories of literacy instruction. Moreover, it illustrates how ideologies about language proficiency and race work in concert with students’ experiences of literacy instruction and English language proficiency assessments to mask these adolescents’ English language expertise. Dr. Brooks’ work has been published in the Journal of Literacy Research, Research in the Teaching of English, Language and Education, and other venues. Dr. Brooks earned her PhD in Educational Linguistics from Stanford University Graduate School of Education, a M.A. in Secondary Bilingual Education and B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Spanish from Loyola Marymount University.

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