English Learners Studied

TAMPA -

Students just learning English have much lower test scores when compared to other students in public schools. And a new study says it's due to more than the language barrier.

The Pew Hispanic Center took on the task of evaluating state math proficiency among non-English speaking students at public schools in Florida, Texas, New York, California and Arizona.

Senior researcher Richard Fry compared test scores from English Language Learners against those of other students.

Fry found a significant gap. Among Florida middle school students there was a 44 point difference.

'What this report shows is that a significant proportion of the math proficiency gap can be explained by the different public schools that English language learners attend compared to their white and African American peers,' Fry said.

He added that non-English speaking students who attend schools with small minority populations have measurably higher test scores.

The Pew Hispanic research showed trends but offered no recommendations. It did however note that the number of non-English speaking students is expected to grow.

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