Adolescent English Learners: Instructional Content for College and Career Readiness

Reading List: Setting the Context: Who are California’s Adolescent English Learners?

Sacramento City Schools Unified School District


**SCUSD English Learners: A Profile. Not available online.


This PowerPoint presentation was prepared by the Assessment, Research, and Evaluation Department in Sacramento City Unified. It provides a summary of data on English learners in the district, including their languages and backgrounds, proficiency levels, redesignation status, achievement, and behavior (e.g., suspensions and expulsions). The profile focuses primarily on secondary school English learners (middle and high school students). These data will be summarized by Maggie Mejia and her team in Session I.


California’s English Learners


Demographic Data


Office of English Language Acquisition, Language Enhancement, and Academic Achievement of Limited English Proficient Students. (2006). California Rate of LEP Growth 1994/95-2004/05. Not available online.


Enrollment and English Learner (EL) Students by Grade Public Schools 2005-06. Available at


Top 10 Languages of English Learner (EL) Students Public Schools 2005-06. Available at


Jensen, C., & de Alth, S. (2005). Student Demographics in English Learners in California Schools (p. 7-15). San Francisco, CA: Public Policy Institute of California. Available at


This chapter provides demographic information describing California’s EL student population including their locations, languages, grade level breakdown, mobility rates, and program participation. (Data comes from the fall 2003 administration of the CELDT.)


Tafoya, S. (2002). California Counts: The Linguistic Landscape of California Schools. San Francisco, CA: Public Policy Institute of California. Available at


This profile explores the demographics of English learners, who now account for nearly 25 percent of California's public school population. The author examines trends over time and provides a geographic portrait of the distribution of these students throughout the major regions of the state.


Gershberg, A., Danenberg, A., & Sanchez, P. (2004). Recent Immigrant and ELL Students and Their Schools in Beyond “Bilingual” Education: New Immigrants and Public School Policies in California. Washington, D.C.: The Urban Institute Press. Available for purchase at


This chapter provides statistical portraits of ELLs and recent immigrant students in five large California districts (Fresno, Long Beach, Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco). The authors categorize the kinds of schools that typical ELLs attend and compare them with the typical schools attended by recent immigrant and other students. They also explore segregation of recent immigrant and ELL students from other students.


Adolescent English Learners in the Nation


Alliance for Excellent Education. (2007). Urgent but Overlooked: The Literacy Crisis among Adolescent English Learners.Washington, DC. Available at


This issue brief reviews research on the literacy needs of ELLs and outlines key policy questions, including: the changing definition of ELLs, assessment of their literacy skills, needed supports for teachers, possible instructional approaches, and the need for more research.


Capps, R., Fix, M., Murray, J., Ost, J., Passel, J. S., & Herwantoro, S. (2005). The New Demography of America’s Schools: Immigration and the No Child Left Behind Act. Washington, DC: The Urban Institute. Available at


This report describes the demographics of children of immigrants, and the considerable overlap among NCLB's protected groups: LEPs, low-income students, blacks, Hispanics and Asians. The authors describe variations in characteristics among a child whose parents were born in different countries, and discusses implications for NCLB implementation in high-LEP schools and districts.


Ruiz de Velasco, J., Fix, M., & Clewell, B. C. (2000). New Faces, New Challenges in Overlooked and Underserved: Immigrant Students in U.S. Secondary Schools (p.45-54). Washington, DC: The Urban Institute. Available at


This chapter focuses on two LEP immigrant subgroups found in grades 7-12: underschooled adolescent newcomers and long-term LEP students. In addition, the authors introduce four challenges to immigrant education: 1) the search for ways to address the literacy needs of students in secondary schools, 2) the challenge of accelerating subject learning for students who are not ready for English instruction in mainstream classes, 3) the lack of appropriate assessment tools, and 4) long-term shortages of new teachers specially trained to work with ELLs.


**This document is considered a priority reading.