Removing barriers to becoming proficient in English for people with disabilities

The Challenge 

In U.S. schools, English language learners typically become proficient in English in about 3 to 5 years. However, English learners with disabilities generally take longer, possibly because of certain testing practices for demonstrating proficiency in English.

We are helping the U.S. Department of Education (ED) explore how state policies may affect the time it takes for children with disabilities to demonstrate proficiency and exit from English learner status. 

Our Solutions 

  • To understand how state policies affect student outcomes, we will
    • Review 10 years of published research on English learners with disabilities
    • Analyze data from 8 districts to see how long it took English learners with disabilities to achieve English proficiency exit English learner status
    • Describe the academic performance of students with disabilities after leaving English learner status

The Results 

  • Westat will use the results of this 2-year study to
    • Describe how long English learners with disabilities take to achieve proficiency and exit English learner status so states and districts can plan accordingly
    • Explain how time to exit varies based on state policies
    • Provide information to help ED make policy and provide technical assistance on exit criteria for English learners


Our Client 

U.S. Department of Education (ED)