Effects of the Implementation of Proposition 227 on the Education of English Learners, K-12
Findings from a Five-Year Evaluation
In June of 1998, Proposition 227 was passed by 61 percent of the California electorate. The initiative was intended to significantly alter the ways in which the state’s English learners (ELs) are taught. Proposition 227 requires that ELs be taught “overwhelmingly in English” through sheltered/structured English immersion (SEI) programs during a transition period and then transferred to mainstream English-language classrooms.
In 2000, the California Department of Education contracted with the American Institutes for Research (AIR), assisted by WestEd, for a five-year evaluation of the Effects of the Implementation of Proposition 227 on the Education of English Learners. (The staffing and organization for this evaluation project appear in Appendix A.) This is the culminating report, synthesizing findings from research performed across all five years of the study. There is a particular focus in this report on the research conducted in Year 5.
The evaluation’s research questions are as follows:
- How are various provisions of Proposition 227 and the English Language Acquisition Program (ELAP) being implemented in California schools and districts?
- Which programs and services being provided to ELs are most effective and least effective in ensuring equal access to the core academic curriculum, the achievement of state content and performance standards, and rapid acquisition of English?
- What are other program benefits (to parents, teachers, etc.) of the various programs and services?
- What unintended consequences, both positive and negative, have occurred as a result of Proposition 227 implementation?
- How have the implementation of Proposition 227 and ELAP provisions affected the academic achievement of ELs, as measured by STAR results, redesignation rates, dropout rates, high school graduation exam passing rates, and high school graduation rates?
- What have been the effects of the Community Based English Tutoring (CBET) programs on the participants and on ELs?
- What changes would strengthen Proposition 227 and ELAP implementation and impact?
In order to answer these research questions, the study is organized into five major components:
- Implementation and effects of Proposition 227
- Academic achievement and English proficiency of English learners (ELs) statewide
- Elements associated with effectiveness among ELs in light of the provisions of Proposition 227
- Implementation and effects of the English Language Acquisition Program (ELAP)
- Implementation and effects of the Community Based English Tutoring (CBET) program
Reports previously submitted during this evaluation include the Year 1 Methodology Report, the final reports for Years 1, 2, and 3, a summary evaluation update (submitted in Year 2), and the English Language Acquisition Program Evaluation Report (submitted in Year 4).
The research team used a mixed-methods approach to address the study’s five components, including case studies, phone and written surveys, statistical analyses of existing student performance data (statewide and from Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD)), stakeholder interviews, and document reviews. Activities conducted in each year of the study are discussed in detail in the prior reports from this study, as listed above. Additional detail regarding the initial design for the study can be found in the Year 1 Methodology Report.