Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

School Name

Annsley Frazier Thornton School of Education



Major Advisor

Dr. Kathleen S. Cooter

Second Advisor

Dr. Grant Smith

Third Advisor

Dr. Jayne Kraemer


The ELL population in the United States continues to increase. Research suggests that the English language proficiency growth rates for numerous ELL students are strongly correlated with their English language proficiency levels (Cook & Zhao, 2011; Conger, 2008). The results of Conger’s 2008 study suggested that just over fifty percent of students gained English language proficiency after three years. According to the same study, the students that did not typically gain English language proficiency were students who entered public schools older and with a lower English language proficiency level. The current study examines the likelihood of high school ELLs in a large, urban district in achieving English language proficiency as measured on the ACCESS for ELLs®. Survival analysis is a robust analytic technique that complements the highly mobile tendencies of ELL students, the ever-expanding ELL population, and the varying English language proficiency timelines. A second survival analysis was performed with language as an additional factor. The analysis suggested the probability of achieving English language proficiency was approximately 20 percent. The analysis indicated there were significant differences between native language groups, demonstrating different languages responded differently to timelines to English language proficiency. If the federal accountability frameworks fail to carefully examine English language proficiency levels, both state and federal educational frameworks risk misjudging expected English language proficiency timelines.