“Graduation Gaps Between English Language Learners and Non-English Language Learners in Chicago Public Schools” – Lucia Torres


Author: Lucia Torres

Department: Institute for Policy & Civic Engagement, UIC

UIC Faculty: Dr. Joseph K. Hoereth, IPCE

English Language Learners (ELLs) are the fastest growing demographic group of students in the United States (Gwynne, Stitziel Pareja, & Ehrlich, 2012). The City of Chicago has a large percentage of English Language Learners. According to Chicago Public School data, in the school year 2019-2020, 18.8 percent of Chicago Public School students are English Language Learners, showing that Chicago has a large proportion of ELLs. The purpose of this research is to determine whether graduation gaps exist between ELL and non- ELL students in the CPS system. CPS is required by state law to provide ELL students with one of the two programs: Transitional Bilingual Education (TBE) or Transitional Program of Instruction (TPI), unless the parents refuse services. The TBE program is required when schools have 20 or more students who speak the same home language and TPI is required when schools have 19 or less students who speak the same home language. The method used in this research is a literature review that analyzed articles, reports, and journals that provide information on the academic achievement gaps between ELLs and non-ELLs. The literature has shown a gap between ELLs and non-ELLs- English Language Learners tend to have lower graduation rates than non-English Language Learners. There are two tasks ELLs need to master: learn English and perform well in core subjects such as Math, Reading and Social Science. Identifying and studying the graduation gap between ELLs and non-ELLs will be useful in determining if CPS is providing adequate resources to help ELLs succeed in school.

Keywords: English Language Learners (ELLs); graduation rates; CPS; school success

Read more about Lucia's work here