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Title: A Descriptive Analysis of Enrollment and Achievement Among English Language Learner Students in Maryland
Description: The number of limited English proficient (LEP) students in Maryland public schools rose 73 percent from 2002/03 to 2008/09, whereas total student enrollment rose only 2.1 percent. During that period, LEP student enrollment increased from 3.0 percent of total student enrollment in 2002/03 to 5.2 percent in 2008/09. These figures are of concern to educators because of the large achievement gaps between LEP and non-LEP students nationally and the need to meet the No Child Left Behind Act goal of bringing all students to proficiency by 2014.

This report, describes enrollment and achievement trends of LEP students in Maryland public schools between 2002/03 and 2008/09. It documents large achievement gaps, ranging from 11 to 49 percentage points, between LEP and non-LEP students in reading and math, as measured by statewide assessments administered in grades 3–8 and 10. The study's main findings include:

  • From 2002/03 to 2008/09, Spanish speakers accounted for the largest percentage of LEP students, peaking at 59.9 percent in 2004/05. In 2008/09, Spanish (spoken by 56.8 percent of LEP students) had the most speakers, followed by French (3.3 percent), Chinese (3.2 percent), Vietnamese (2.3 percent), and Korean (2.2 percent). LEP students speaking "other" languages (languages other than the five most common in the state) accounted for 32.1 percent of LEP students in 2008/09.
  • Between 2002/03 and 2008/09, LEP students accounted for a larger percentage of enrollment in elementary school (grades K–5) than in middle school (grades 6–8) or in high school (grades 9–12). In 2008/09, LEP students accounted for 8.2 percent of elementary school enrollment, 2.7 percent of middle school enrollment, and 2.5 percent of high school enrollment.
  • During the period studied, the percentage of LEP students scoring at the proficient or advanced level in reading and math increased in all grades studied (grades 3–8 and 10). However, the achievement gap in both subjects between LEP and non-LEP students ranged from 11 to 49 percentage points each year.
  • During the period studied, the achievement gap in reading and math between LEP and non-LEP students narrowed in grades 3–5 and grade 10; the achievement gap narrowed in reading in grades 6–8 but widened in math in grades 7 and 8.
Online Availability:
Cover Date: April 2012
Web Release: April 24, 2012
Publication #: REL 2012128
Center/Program: REL
Associated Centers: NCEE
Type of Product: Issues and Answers Report
Questions: For questions about the content of this Issues and Answers Report, please contact:
Erin Pollard.