recommends that the collection of data on these students be improved in several ways.
Recommendation 3: Policy makers and funding agencies should consider the need for consistent longitudinal data about the progress of English-language learners through school and beyond at both the national and state levels. Researchers, policy makers, and the public need valid information that yields insights into how these students fare whether or not they are enrolled in instructional programs that target their linguistic and cognitive needs as second-language learners. Information is also needed about English-language learners after they leave school and move into the workforce, and after they stop receiving any educational supports. More data are also needed to improve our understanding of variations in the kinds of bilingual services and testing accommodations children receive and their effects; how long they are eligible to receive them; and how their progress is affected by factors such as the age at which they entered the system.
It is the committee's hope that policies regarding the testing of English-language learners will grow more consistent and accurate as the ramifications of different approaches come to be better understood. Moreover, if data collection is improved and more is learned about the progress of these students through school, strategies for attending to their developing language skills and to their academic achievement should become more focused and successful than they are now.