Society

New Study: Government ESL Programs Have Dismal 1.7% Success Rate

| by Jonathan Wolfe
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The Daily Caller reported today on a Lexington Institute study showing that government-run ESL programs have been 98% ineffective in the U.S.

The report shows that of the 23 million American adults with limited English proficiency (LEP), only 1.24 million of them ever enroll in a state ESL program. Only 40% of that 1.24 million made any significant progress in learning the English language. All together, the success rate of these ESL programs is a dismal 1.7%.

The report marked the contrast between the success of state and private ESL programs.

“The design of the programs themselves is also a factor. Largely administered and run by government agencies, adult ESL programs are generally not tailored to the needs of the specific learner and maintain few accountability metrics. Most states, like Illinois, administer the lion’s share of adult ESL courses through local community colleges and school district adult education programs, using a one-size-fits-all approach to instruction and course design,” the report says.

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Private programs, on the other hand, are doing a much better job at “meeting the learner where he or she is, and designing flexible course times and curriculum that accommodate personal and workforce needs.”

The report backs up this claim by giving showing the statistical success of the Los Angeles based PUENTE Learning Center. Students at the PUENTE Center progressed in the program at a success rate of 85%, over twice that of the state program rate of 40%.

The study suggests the government should take notes on the structure of their successful private program counterparts.

“The adult ESL system across the US fails many more students than it aids,” a Lexington Institute spokesperson said in a press release. “It has got to get better or there will be serious implications for them and for the overall economy.”

Sources: Daily Caller, Lexington Institute