This thesis investigates the environment of support for reclassified English Language Learners (RCELLs) in Arizona schools. Arizona English Language Learner (ELL) policy and pedagogy have been the subjects of research nationwide; many studies demonstrate that ELLs struggle before, during and after participating in Arizona ELL programs (Lillie et al. 2012; Roa 2012; Garcia, Lawton & de Figuieredo 2012; Office of Civil Rights 2012). Despite evidence that the achievement gap between RCELLs and mainstream students is not closing, little information is available about additional language support that RCELLs might receive in mainstream classrooms. This thesis addresses that void of information through: 1) A literature review of the framework of RCELL support, as outlined by the Arizona Department of Education and relevant studies, and 2) a study of teacher and principal opinion about support components for RCELLs and whether such support is adequate. Study findings present that teachers and principals generally believe RCELLs are well-supported, in terms of both the availability and quality of study-defined support components. Yet there is only weak consensus among teachers that support components are adequate. Additionally, teachers' knowledgeability related to important RCELL support components is low, undermining the reliability of teacher responses. The disconnect between participants' optimistic perceptions of support and the external evidence of low RCELL achievement is rationalized by two conjectures. The first is that teachers are not knowledgeable about RCELL support components and cannot accurately gauge the quality of such support. The second is that existing support components are effective at assisting RCELLs with English learning but are not sufficient to close RCELL academic content achievement gaps.
- After English: A Study of Support for Reclassified English Language Learners in Arizona
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