Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Factors Influencing Student Outcomes and How They Interact - 06 - English Language Learners

In response to the feedback received on "Educational Funding and Student Outcomes: The Relationship as Evidenced by State-Level Data," the KASB Research Department is working on a "Part II" which will dig further into other factors that impact student outcomes, and how funding impacts when these other factors are taken into consideration.

In this series of blog posts, I will describe the preliminary correlation analysis comparing these factors (independent variables) with each other in an attempt to show how closely tied to each other they are.  

Today's topic is Percent of students participating in programs for English Language Learners (ELL)

NCES reports on the percent of students participating in programs designed for students from homes where English is not the primary language and/or who demonstrate a need for additional assistance with speaking and writing English; referred to English Language Learners (ELL).  

In terms of other independent variables, I will list the interactions in terms of the strength of the highest correlation between variables observed; Strong (+/- 1.0 to 0.5), Moderate (+/- 0.5 to 0.3), Weak (+/- .03 to 0.1), and None or Very Weak (+/- 0.1 to 0.0).

Strong

  • There is a strong negative correlation between percent of students participating in ELL programs and the percent of white students, a weak negative correlation between percent of students participating in ELL programs and the percent of black students, a strong positive correlation between percent of students participating in ELL programs and the percent of Hispanic students, and a weak positive correlation between students participating in ELL programs and the percent of American Indian and/or Alaska native students; indicating that states with higher percents of students participating in ELL programs have fewer white and (to a lesser degree) black students and more Hispanic and (to a lesser degree) American Indian or Alaska native students.
  • There is a strong positive correlation between percent of students participating in ELL programs and student-teacher ratio; indicating that states with higher percents of students receiving English language learner services have more students per teacher. 

Moderate

  • There is a moderate positive correlation between percent of student participating in programs for English Language Learners and RPP, meaning states with lower cost of living have lower percents participating in programs for English Language Learners.  This seems contrary to expectations, and may indicate states with higher cost of living have more ELL programs available than states with lower cost of living.  
  • There is a moderate negative correlation between percent of students participating in English Language Learner programs (ELL) and percent of special education students; indicating that states with larger special education student populations have smaller percents of students from homes where English is not the primary language.
  • There is a weak negative correlation between percent of students participating in ELL programs and education spending when looking at actual dollar amounts and inflation-adjusted amounts, and a moderate negative correlation when looking at state cost-of-living-adjusted amounts; suggesting that states with higher percents of ELL students have lower per pupil spending, and this trend is even more apparent when accounting for regional cost differences.
  • There is a weak to moderate negative correlation between ELL program participation and the percent of the population with at least a high school diploma, and a weak positive correlation between ELL program participation and percent of the population with a college degree; indicating that states with higher percents of ELL students have lower percents of high school completers but higher percents of college graduates.  

Weak

  • There is a weak negative correlation between percent participating in ELL programs and percent taking the ACT, and a weak positive relationship between the percent taking the SAT and the percent participating in ELL programs; meaning students from states with higher percents of students in ELL programs are less likely to take the ACT and more likely to take the SAT.  
  • There is a weak positive correlation between percent of students participating in ELL programs and percent of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch; indicating that states with higher percents of students identified as in poverty or otherwise at risk also have higher percents of students identified to receive English Language Learner services.  
  • There is a weak positive correlation between percent of students participating in ELL programs and teacher salaries when looking at actual dollar amounts and inflation-adjusted amounts, but not when adjusted for state cost of living; suggesting that higher percents of ELL students and higher teacher salaries are both related to lower state cost of living and not directly related to each other.  
  • There is no correlation between ELL program participation and spending on instruction as a percent of current spending and a weak negative correlation between ELL program participation and spending on instruction as a percent of total revenue; suggesting states with higher percents of ELL students allocate smaller percents of spending towards expenses categorized as "instruction."
  • There is no correlation between percent of ELL students and per capita personal income when looking at actual dollars, a weak positive correlation when looking at personal income adjusted for inflation (CPI2014), and a weak negative correlation when looking at personal income adjusted for state cost-of-living (RPP).  There is a weak positive correlation between between percent of ELL students and household income when looking at actual dollars and dollars adjusted for inflation (CPI2014), and no correlation when looking at household income adjusted for state cost-of-living (RPP).  This suggests that states with higher percents of ELL students have higher incomes except when taking state cost-of-living into account, though this relationship is weak.

None or Very Weak

  • There is no correlation between the percent of students participating in programs for English Language Learners and period; indicating this is remaining fairly constant over time. 
  • There is no correlation between percent of students participating in programs for English Language Learners and poverty.  
  • There is no correlation between percent of students participating in programs for English Language Learners and population density.

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