School of Education


Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Rebecca Lunde


English Learners, Former English Learners, English Proficiency, Academic Proficiency, ELP Levels, SOL Assessments


Education | Educational Leadership


Due to increases in immigration patterns, U.S. schools face many challenges when educating this fast-growing minority immigrant population who confront many social, cultural, economic, and linguistic obstacles. Lack of English proficiency, in many instances, impedes this newly arrived group from fully integrating and participating within societal contexts. Children of immigrants have the dichotomous task of learning academic content and demonstrating subject knowledge on high stakes assessments while learning English as a new language. English Learners, Hispanics in particular, are twice as likely to drop out of school. Dropout rates create accountability issues for schools in the U.S. that have experienced a dramatic increase in the number of English Learners they service. The purpose of this quantitative correlational study was to determine if there was a statistical relationship between English Learners’ English proficiency levels and high stakes reading test scores in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The researcher analyzed the relationship between these two variables for 2017 and 2018. A convenience sample of 324 secondary English Learners and Former English Learners was collected from three school divisions in the southeast of Virginia. A Pearson’s r was used to test Null One. The results for Null Hypothesis One were r (162) = .475, p = .000. A Spearman rho rank correlation coefficient was used to test Null Two. The results for Null Hypothesis Two were rho (162) = 0.563, p = 0.000. The correlation described the direction and strength of the relationship between two high stakes assessments. The Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English state-to-state for English Language Learners or ACCESS for ELLs test is used to measure English proficiency levels and the Reading Standards of Learning test measures academic performance in reading skills in English. Based on the research findings, the results of the study may be used to inform decisions on instruction, best practices, targeted professional development opportunities for teachers, and policy changes to support English Learners in the mainstream classroom.