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Statistic Of The Day: How Long Does It Take To Learn English?

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How Long Does It Take ELLs to Develop English Proficiency? is an Ed Week post about a new study done with ELL elementary schoolchildren in Washington.

Here’s what they found:

On-average-it-took-the

However, the next sentence also adds:

But over the course of the study, almost 20 percent of students did not score high enough on the state exam to be reclassified.

This study’s results seem to confirm other previous research (I wonder why resources have to be spent on something that has already been found to be true already?). Here’s the consensus from the field:

…researchers have developed a range. They estimate that it can take up to three to five years to achieve oral proficiency — the type of language children need to engage in everyday interactions — and four to seven years to be at the same academic level as their native English speaking peers, which includes reading and writing across subject areas.

That same past research suggests that it is easier to learn a new language prior to age nine because of the brain development process. So that provides an explanation for why the Washington study is at the low-end of that range.

I’m adding this post to The Best Ways To Keep-Up With Current ELL/ESL/EFL News & Research.

Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

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