Thursday, February 14, 2013

Lynn Sees Decline in Limited English Proficiency Student Population; KIPP Sees an Increase

According to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's most recent demographic data, 17.5% of the 14,139 students currently enrolled in the Lynn Public School system are classified as Limited English Proficiency (LEP). Of the 569 students currently enrolled at the KIPP Academy Lynn Charter School, 9.3% are classified as LEP students. LEP students are defined as those whose first language is one other than English and who are unable to perform ordinary classroom work in English. While this is a substantial proportion of the Lynn student population, the percentage of LEP students has actually declined since the 2008-09 school year. Conversely at KIPP, the percentage of LEP students has increased 675% during the same time period.

Percentage of Limited English Proficiency Students SY 08-09 - 12-13
 

In 2008-09, just over a quarter of Lynn district students and 1.2% of KIPP students were LEP students. This figure decreased to 19.6% for Lynn by 2011-12 before reaching its current figure of 17.5% in 2012-13. At KIPP, on the other hand, the percentage of LEP students remained just under 2% for school years 08-09, 09-10 and 10-11 before increasing to 7.7% in 2011-12 and then even further to 9.3% this year.

At the individual school level, the percentage of LEP students at the majority of schools in Lynn also declined from school year 11-12 to 12-13. Aborn, for example, reported a 64% decrease in its LEP population from during this period while Shoemaker reported a 71% decrease and Lincoln-Thomson a nearly 43% decrease. Below is a graph showing how the percentages of LEP students at the Lynn schools which tend to enroll the largest proportions of these students has changed over time.

Percentage of LEP Students at Select Schools SY 08-09 - 12-13
 
From this we see that the schools with some of the highest proportion of LEP students have also seen a steady decline in this population over time with Connery reporting the most dramatic change. In 2008-09, nearly two-thirds of Connery's population was LEP; this number was just over one-third in 2012-13.

Six Lynn schools, however, did see their LEP populations increase with Lynn Woods reporting the largest gain. In 2011-12, 2.5% of Lynn Woods students had limited English language skills; this number increased to 4.1% in 2012-13, a 64% increase in just one year. Other schools reporting increases in their LEP populations were Tracy, KIPP, Pickering, Lynn Tech and Fecteau-Leary. Increases at these schools ranged from 0.1 to 1.6 percentage points.

One factor to keep in mind when considering the decrease in LEP students is the attrition rate. Attrition refers to the percentage of students who, from the end of one school year to the beginning of the next, transfer out of a particular school or district. From 2011-12 to 2012-13, 4.9% of English Language Learner students who had been enrolled in LPS were no longer attending a public school in the system compared to a 5.4% attrition rate for the system as a whole; the year before, the attrition rate for the LEP population was 6.3%. Thus, the decline in the LEP population may be due, in part, to the attrition rate of these students. However, one has to also consider the intake rate. The intake rate refers to the percentage of students who enroll in a school or district after the beginning of the year; 13.2% of students who enrolled in the Lynn Public Schools after the start of the school year in 2012 were English Language Learners. In spite of the flux of ELL students both transferring into and out of LPS, the net percentage of LEP students in the district is down overall from previous years. At KIPP, the attrition rate of ELL students was 2.8% in 2012-13, up from 0 in 2011-12; despite this, the percentage of LEP students was up overall this school year.

Another, perhaps more important, consideration must be made of the percentage of students who remain within the district but shed their LEP classification at some point after gaining sufficient English language skills per the state's criteria. Prior to this school year, the Massachusetts English Proficiency Assessment (MEPA) was used to determine whether an LEP student had attained English language proficiency. 'English language attainment' was defined as having a score in the mid-point of Level 4 or above on the exam. On the 2012 MEPA, 35% of LEP students in Lynn attained a score which qualified them as having attained English proficiency; in 2011, 32% of LEP students attained English proficiency. From 2008 to 2012, the percentage of LEP students attaining proficiency each year ranged from 32% to 59%. Additionally, 63% of LEP students made progress toward proficiency in 2012 based on a comparison of their MEPA scores from Spring 2011 to Spring 2012; this figure was 1 point above the state's predetermined target for the city. 

While the percentage of LEP students has decreased over the last 4 years, the percentage of students who speak English as a second language in LPS has increased. In 2008-09, 49.5% of LPS students spoke English as a second language; this figure is now 54.2%. KIPP's 'First Language not English' enrollment has remained relatively steady over the last few years with a slight decrease this year.

Percentage of 'First Language not English' Students SY 08-09 - 12-13

Thus, while the proportion of students with limited English skills may be decreasing, the percentage of students speaking a first language other than English is increasing drawing a contrast between one's ability to simply speak another language and their actual level of fluency in English. Though a considerable proportion of the student population's first language is not English both at KIPP and within the Lynn Public School District, a much smaller percentage of students have English language skills that completely hinder their ability to perform the same classroom work as their native English speaking peers.



*Coming Soon: An Education takes a look at how ELL and former ELL students  fare on major educational indicators such as MCAS test score results and graduation rates when compared to their home district as a whole.



All data taken from: www.doe.mass.edu



You may also be interested in:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post a Comment