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The educational pathways and outcomes of ethnic and linguistic minority students Pirbhai-Illich, Fatmakhanu

Abstract

This study was designed to investigate the educational pathways and outcomes of 184 newly-arrived limited English proficient students attending high schools in the Vancouver School District during the years 1996-2003. The study used student archival data from the District Reception and Placement Center's ESL database and the Vancouver School Board's (VSB) database. The graduation and dropout rates for this cohort were determined and the educational pathways to both graduation and non-graduation status were examined. Using the initial analysis of the data, an educational pathways and outcomes model was produced and hierarchically ranked. For this cohort of participants, seven educational pathways were found. These pathways are: (1) student permanently dropped out; (2) student stayed in mainstream high schools for five years, did not acquire sufficient course credits to graduate, and subsequently did not register for any additional courses that could have been taken at adult learning (ADL) centers in the VSB district during the time frame of this investigation (seven years); (3) student dropped out of mainstream high school, registered for courses at an ADL center and by the end of this study had still not managed to acquire sufficient course credits to graduate; (4) student took courses in mainstream high schools for five years, did not acquire sufficient course credits to graduate, subsequently attended an ADL center and by the end of this study had still not managed to acquire sufficient courses to graduate; (5) student dropped out of mainstream high school, subsequently took courses at an ADL center, and graduated within the seven year duration of this study; (6) student took courses for five years in mainstream high schools, did not acquire sufficient course credits to graduate, subsequently attended an ADL center and graduated; (7) student graduated from mainstream high school. Variables studied were based on previously documented individual, institutional and academic indicators in the academic achievement and dropout literature. Additional variables percentage of ESL students in the school population, immigration class, language streaming (English language proficiency at initial school registration), number of years taking ESL, and school ranking were included for their potential as future predictors of high school graduation and non-graduation. Results indicated that the overall graduation rate for this cohort was 64.1%. This number represents students who graduated from both mainstream high schools and adult learning centers. The permanent dropout rate was found to be 14.1%. More than a third of the participants were not able to acquire a high school diploma in the five year stipulated time frame allocated for a high school career. Based on various tests using Chi-square and ANOVA, several relationships and significant group differences were found. Immigration class and the percentage of ESL students in individual school populations were found to be significantly related to educational outcomes.

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