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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Robert Oprandy

First Committee Member

Marilyn Draheim

Second Committee Member

Antonio Serna

Third Committee Member

Gary Dei Rossi


Reclassification is a process that changes the language proficiency status of an English learner (EL) to that of a fluent English proficient (FEP) student. School districts in California are allowed to set their own reclassification criteria, based on guidelines from the State Board of Education. Various reclassification policies may present problems, such as inappropriate placement and provision of services which would widen the academic deficit of English learners and place them at greater risk for long-term academic problems. The purposes of this study were to analyze the reclassification criteria among districts in the Northern San Joaquin Valley and Foothill area of California, to learn how districts arrive at their current criteria, and to know what modifications and recommendations district leaders who are in charge of English learner services would suggest regarding reclassification. Policies from 23 K-12 school districts in the studied area were collected and analyzed. Interviews with 12 district leaders who are in charge of English learner programs and services were conducted to find out how districts developed their criteria and their suggestions for modifications and recommendations regarding reclassification. Data collected from school districts' policies revealed a diverse set of practices in the establishment of the reclassification criteria although the majority of the school districts studied met the SBE guidelines to reclassify EL students. There is a range of selected cut points for English language proficiency and the California Standardized Tests. There is also a wide variety of measures and their specific requisites that are being used as part of the teachers' evaluation of students' curriculum mastery requirements. Parental opinion and consultation were presented in 22 out of 23 policies collected. Furthermore, an array of miscellaneous requirements was found in the majority of districts' criteria. The differences in districts' reclassification criteria prompted concerns regarding reclassified students' proficiency levels and performance. Recommendations include a more uniform and specific set of reclassification guidelines statewide, an explicit operational definition of English proficiency, and frequent review of EL students' progress to prevent and identify Long Term English Learners, LTELs, so that appropriate intervention can be provided to enable their success.





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