Photograph of kindergarten students sitting in class with two teachers in the foreground.

Findings from researchers from the Center and Data Informed Futures team were recently published in the International Journal of Educational Research Open. This study used data from the Early Development Instrument and used an asset-based framework to examine the developmental health outcomes of young kindergarten students that are classified as English Leaners. 

Authors: Dr. Judy Perrigo, Dr. Lisa Stanley, Sarah Mixson, Leila Espinosa, Jordan Morales, Chandler Beck  Neal Halfon.

Abstract: Using an asset-based framework, this study examines the holistic developmental health outcomes of young English Learners (ELs) in the United States using the Early Development Instrument (EDI), stratified by first language and neighborhood risk measured by the National Neighborhood Equity Index (NNEI). Drawing from data spanning 154 school districts across 11 states and the District of Columbia from 2016 to 2020 (n = 192,892 kindergartners), the analyses encompassed descriptive statistics, Pearson Chi-square tests, and logistic regression models. The results highlight that EL kindergartners were more likely to be On Track in the social competence (OR = 1.17; 95 % CI = 1.13, 1.20), emotional maturity (OR = 1.26; 95 % CI = 1.22, 1.30), and physical health and well-being (OR = 1.47; 95 % CI = 1.43,1.51) domains compared to non-EL kindergartners. Yet, in the communication skills and general knowledge (OR = 0.75; CI = 0.72, 0.77) and language and cognitive development (OR = 0.72; CI = 0.70, 0.74) domains, EL kindergartners were less likely to be On Track compared to non-EL kindergartners. Notably, Korean- and Mandarin-speaking kindergartners showed the highest rates of being On Track across all EDI domains. Additionally, EL kindergartners in less challenged neighborhoods were surprisingly less likely to be On Track compared to those in more adverse neighborhoods across all developmental domains. Implications of these findings, which shed light on distinctive strengths and needs, are discussed.

Full article available online