The College Trajectories of English Language Learner Identified Youth: An Analysis of Postsecondary Outcomes in Texas
Stella M. Flores

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



Vanderbilt University

Primary Discipline

Higher Education
English language learner (ELL) programs have been at the forefront of various court decisions since well before the 1970s, and more recently through state referenda. Adding to the contextual complexity of these legal decisions are federal mandates stemming from the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) that now require public school districts to account for the academic achievement of students identified as English language learners. It is therefore becoming increasingly clear that educational decisions regarding this population require stronger reliance on data-driven analyses. Key to making such assessments is the availability of appropriate data and knowledge of programs affecting ELL students. As research on ELL students has expanded significantly over the last three decades, few studies have used reliable and detailed datasets that extend into state postsecondary school systems to examine ELL students’ odds of going to and succeeding in college. Using a unique, confidential, and longitudinal state administrative dataset in Texas, this study proposes to evaluate the effects of ELL identification on the college-access trajectories of students who have been assigned this identification status. Specifically, the project will investigate the demographic and academic determinants of college access as well as more detailed postsecondary outcomes of ELL and former ELL students who enroll in college. Finally, the project will examine whether the effects of postsecondary remediation differ for ELL students relative to non-ELL students. The data are well-suited for a series of quasi-experimental research studies represented by the proposed research questions: 1. What are the demographic and academic achievement determinants of college entry for ELL students and how do they compare to observationally similar non-ELL students? 2. What are the postsecondary outcomes of ELL and former ELL students who enroll in college (specifically, taking remedial courses, persistence, and performance)? 3. Do remediation effects differ for ELL students relative to non-ELL students in Texas? Effects may be defined as type of remediation, exit from remediation into traditional coursework, credits attained, and persistence by semester.My project fills an important gap in the quantitative examination of these students as an underrepresented student population in the nation’s colleges and universities. In addition, the project builds on the growing diversification of ELL research and econometric studies of college access by merging the literature and methodological techniques used by multiple disciplines to study the college outcomes of one of the most underrepresented but fastest growing populations in the United States.
About Stella M. Flores

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