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Allocating Federal Funds for State Programs for English Language Learners (2011)

Chapter: 6 Comparability of Estimates of Immigrant School-Age Children

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Suggested Citation:"6 Comparability of Estimates of Immigrant School-Age Children." National Research Council. 2011. Allocating Federal Funds for State Programs for English Language Learners. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13090.
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6
Comparability of Estimates of Immigrant School-Age Children

In this chapter we discuss the definitions of immigrant students from the two allowable data sources and compare those definitions. In discussing the American Community Survey (ACS), we apply several of the analytical techniques used in Chapter 2 when considering the English language learner (ELL) estimates. We also assess the strengths and weakness of estimates based on state administrative data.

As noted in Chapter 1, Title III of the Elementary and Secondary School Act requires the U.S. Department of Education (DoEd) to allocate funds to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico on the basis of a formula that incorporates the population of immigrant children and youth in each state. Specifically, the legislation states that 20 percent of the funds are to be based on the population of “recently immigrated children and youth (relative to national counts of these populations).” Section 3301(6) defines an “eligible immigrant student” as an individual who (A) is aged 3 through 21; (B) was not born in any state; and (C) has not been attending one or more schools in any one or more states for more than 3 full academic years. In this definition, language spoken by an individual is not a criterion for classification as an immigrant. This absence in the statutory definition may affect the allocation of the 20 percent of the funds to the extent that the English speaking ability of immigrant populations might vary by state because the source of the immigrant population varies by state.

As with the counts of eligible limited English proficiency (LEP) children and youth, the data on immigrant students can and have been derived from both the ACS and administratively reported state counts, and both data series have been used in the allocation formula. Prior to fiscal 2005, the DoEd allocated the immigration-related portion of Title III funds to the states on the basis of the state-reported counts of the number of immigrant children and youth; since then, the department

Suggested Citation:"6 Comparability of Estimates of Immigrant School-Age Children." National Research Council. 2011. Allocating Federal Funds for State Programs for English Language Learners. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13090.
×

has used ACS data for the number of immigrant children and youth to determine the state allocations.

ACS DATA AND ESTIMATES

Definition of Immigrant Children and Youth

Like the ACS data that the department uses to determine students with LEP, the data on immigrant status are based on self-reports. Three ACS questions are used to identify recent immigrants: (1) whether each household member was born in the United States, (2) whether he or she is a citizen, and (3) for those not born in the United States, when the person entered the country—see Box 6-1. Household members between the ages of 3 and 21 are classified as recent immigrants if they are not U.S. citizens at birth1 and entered the country less than 3 years prior to the survey.

Evaluation of the Survey Questions

Like the questions on language spoken and English speaking ability, the ACS questions that define an immigrant child or youth were adopted from the long form of the decennial census at the time the ACS was developed. They have also been a part of the Current Population Survey for some time. They play a critical role in the Census Bureau’s annual population estimates program as the basis for the net international migration estimate. Owing to their importance, the objectivity and collectability of these questions has been the subject of several analyses over the years, culminating in a major 2006 Census Bureau ACS test of the new and modified item content (Harris et al., 2007).

Although much of the research has focused on missing content, such as parental nativity and date of naturalization, the “year of arrival” question has been the subject of some evaluation because of the concern that the current question allows reporting of only one entry to the United States even when the respondents have entered multiple times, and the interpretation of “coming to live” in the United States may be too broad. Redstone and Massey (2003) identified problems with the year of entry question as a source of underestimation of the number of years that have elapsed since a person’s arrival. Most likely, the inconsistencies were the result of multiple entries into the United States by persons who may have provided the year of a recent entry rather than their first entry (Schmidley and Robinson, 2003).

The content test report suggested that there was confusion among both respondents and ACS field representatives about the kind of information that the entry question was seeking and about how to report multiple arrivals. This confusion was evident in the content test itself, when a test group that was asked further probing questions about year of arrival was not able to provide accurate answers to the ques-

1

The category includes respondents who indicate they are U.S. citizens by naturalization.

Suggested Citation:"6 Comparability of Estimates of Immigrant School-Age Children." National Research Council. 2011. Allocating Federal Funds for State Programs for English Language Learners. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13090.
×

BOX 6-1

ACS Questions on Birth, Citizenship, and Year of Entry into the United States

  1. Where was this person born?

□ In the United States

        Print Name of State


□ Outside the United States

        Print Name of Foreign Country, or Puerto Rico or Guam etc

  1. Is this person a citizen of the United States?

□ Yes, born in the United States,

□ Yes, born in Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, or Northern Marianas

□ Yes, born abroad of U.S citizen parent or parents

□ Yes, U.S. citizen by naturalization

        Print Year of Naturalization


□ No, not a U.S. citizen

  1. When did this person come to live in the United States?

    Print year of Arrival

tions. Based on the results of the content test, in 2008 the ACS added a question on year of naturalization.

Unfortunately, it is not known how these issues with the precise timing of the date of entry affect the precision of the estimate of immigrant children and youth for purposes of Title III allocations. If a significant number of children and youth who had originally arrived 3 years ago or earlier reported a subsequent arrival because of confusion over the meaning of the question, there would be tendency for the count of recent immigrant children and youth from the ACS to be an overestimate.

Effect of Nonresponse on Data Quality

We next considered the possible effect of item nonresponse on the ACS estimates. The allocation (imputation) rates (described in Chapter 2) for the “place of birth” item were 7.0 percent in 2008, which is considered moderate, and the allocation rates for the “year of entry” items were also moderate, at 10.4 percent. However, the amount of imputation required has trended upwards from year to year for each of the immigrant-identifying questions: see Table 6-1.

The implications of nonresponse for the accuracy of estimates are not evident. Its effects depend, first of all, on the accuracy of the assumptions underlying the

Suggested Citation:"6 Comparability of Estimates of Immigrant School-Age Children." National Research Council. 2011. Allocating Federal Funds for State Programs for English Language Learners. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13090.
×

TABLE 6-1 Allocation Rates for Nonresponse on Immigrant Items in the ACS, 2005-2008 (in percentage*)

Item

2008

2007

2006

2005

Place of Birth

7.0

5.5

4.8

4.7

Citizenship

2.5

1.8

1.6

1.6

Year of Entry: Total Population Not Born in U.S.

10.4

8.5

7.9

6.9

*The item allocation rates for year 2005 are for housing units only. The item allocation rates for 2006 to 2008 include housing units and group quarters populations.

SOURCE: From the Census Bureau Quality Measures Page, http://www.census.gov/acs/www/UseData/sse/ita/ita_def.htm [May 2010].

procedures used to impute the missing values, and, consequently, on whether they impute recent immigration at approximately the correct rate. Furthermore, even if estimates of the total number of recent immigrants are inaccurate, Title III allocations to states would only be affected if the errors are disproportionate across states. For 2008, the range in the imputation rates for “place of birth” and “year of entry” across states are fairly narrow with interquartile ranges (the area between the 25th and 75th percentiles) of only 1.4 percent and 3.2 percent, respectively. Given the moderate overall item nonresponse rates and the fairly limited range of rates among the states, the effects of nonresponse on the allocations are not likely to be substantial.

The ACS Estimates

The 1-year and 3-year estimates of immigrant children and youth for 2005-2008 were derived from special tabulations provided by the Census Bureau: they are shown in Table 6-2. Along with the number of immigrant children and youth aged 3-21 years, the table shows the corresponding standard errors and coefficients of variation.

The panel’s conclusions regarding the characteristics of the 1- and 3-year estimates for ELL estimates (see Chapter 2) also apply to the ACS estimates of immigrant children. Because each 3-year estimate is based on three times the sample size of the 1-year estimates, the standard errors of the former are substantially lower. The shares of the states that are based on 1-year estimates do not fluctuate a great deal.

The variation is further dampened when shares are based on 3-year estimates because consecutive 3-year estimates include 2 overlapping years (in this case, 2006 and 2007) and so are more stable than 1-year estimates: see Table 6-3. However, the 1-year estimates respond more quickly to changes in economic and social characteristics than the 3-year estimates.

The percentage share of each state’s estimate of immigrant children and youth is shown in Table 6-4.

Suggested Citation:"6 Comparability of Estimates of Immigrant School-Age Children." National Research Council. 2011. Allocating Federal Funds for State Programs for English Language Learners. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13090.
×

TABLE 6-2 Number of Immigrant Children and Youth Aged 3-21, by State

State

ACS 2005

ACS 2006

ACS 2007

ACS 2008

Estimate

SE

CV

Estimate

SE

CV

Estimate

SE

CV

Estimate

SE

CV

Alabama

7,710

862

0.11

7,335

829

0.11

9,815

1,404

0.14

5,405

920

0.17

Alaska

965

431

0.45

1,765

487

0.28

2,555

728

0.28

1,095

433

0.40

Arizona

35,660

2,855

0.08

32,565

2,852

0.09

37,565

3,158

0.08

22,250

2,429

0.11

Arkansas

4,680

935

0.20

5,330

838

0.16

5,785

1,044

0.18

4,510

914

0.20

California

251,275

9,185

0.04

214,095

6,483

0.03

208,295

6,405

0.03

179,500

6,834

0.04

Colorado

16,835

1,897

0.11

13,405

1,539

0.11

13,560

1,558

0.11

12,780

1,417

0.11

Connecticut

10,670

1,395

0.13

11,275

1,573

0.14

11,095

1,550

0.14

10,165

1,073

0.11

Delaware

2,495

491

0.20

1,980

706

0.36

1,515

512

0.34

1,100

451

0.41

District of Columbia

1,285

454

0.35

4,065

810

0.20

1,445

456

0.32

1,635

362

0.22

Florida

93,535

4,263

0.05

88,770

4,553

0.05

83,245

3,785

0.05

69,790

5,551

0.08

Georgia

36,945

3,031

0.08

31,160

2,172

0.07

26,295

2,172

0.08

28,460

2,670

0.09

Hawaii

6,645

1,512

0.23

8,495

1,273

0.15

5,110

858

0.17

7,810

2,288

0.29

Idaho

5,010

1,343

0.27

3,550

837

0.24

4,130

679

0.16

4,425

732

0.17

Illinois

35,965

2,710

0.08

35,225

2,771

0.08

44,240

2,900

0.07

32,535

2,505

0.08

Indiana

11,985

1,368

0.11

11,160

1,436

0.13

10,665

1,015

0.10

9,160

1,172

0.13

Iowa

4,150

733

0.18

4,685

704

0.15

4,580

812

0.18

5,540

818

0.15

Kansas

6,035

913

0.15

7,030

1,236

0.18

6,815

940

0.14

6,330

988

0.16

Kentucky

5,275

961

0.18

5,600

679

0.12

6,355

1,202

0.19

5,710

961

0.17

Louisiana

3,185

602

0.19

4,980

798

0.16

5,940

1,113

0.19

4,910

910

0.19

Maine

995

497

0.50

1,715

469

0.27

1,075

393

0.37

1,520

436

0.29

Maryland

26,765

2,621

0.10

23,940

1,858

0.08

22,260

1,974

0.09

19,500

1,392

0.07

Massachusetts

23,935

1,876

0.08

21,920

1,855

0.08

24,380

2,174

0.09

26,290

2,327

0.09

Michigan

20,640

2,328

0.11

17,700

2,054

0.12

21,810

2,030

0.09

18,945

1,904

0.10

Minnesota

14,420

1,562

0.11

17,285

2,044

0.12

15,100

1,536

0.10

10,980

1,165

0.11

Mississippi

2,695

703

0.26

2,925

663

0.23

3,300

534

0.16

3,420

896

0.26

Missouri

7,315

1,244

0.17

7,370

1,123

0.15

8,090

1,062

0.13

8,940

1,031

0.12

Suggested Citation:"6 Comparability of Estimates of Immigrant School-Age Children." National Research Council. 2011. Allocating Federal Funds for State Programs for English Language Learners. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13090.
×

State

ACS 2005

ACS 2006

ACS 2007

ACS 2008

Estimate

SE

CV

Estimate

SE

CV

Estimate

SE

CV

Estimate

SE

CV

Montana

465

170

0.37

1,240

366

0.30

1,415

462

0.33

800

281

0.35

Nebraska

4,130

904

0.22

4,820

759

0.16

2,790

560

0.20

3,885

797

0.21

Nevada

9,445

1,158

0.12

11,900

1,337

0.11

11,425

1,517

0.13

9,620

1,477

0.15

New Hampshire

1,155

368

0.32

2,635

779

0.30

1,640

439

0.27

1,395

381

0.27

New Jersey

38,670

2,645

0.07

38,475

2,245

0.06

34,525

2,470

0.07

37,725

2,451

0.06

New Mexico

5,720

1,063

0.19

9,465

1,439

0.15

3,920

759

0.19

2,340

500

0.21

New York

83,310

3,942

0.05

95,185

4,360

0.05

79,390

3,826

0.05

84,055

3,810

0.05

North Carolina

27,890

3,614

0.13

27,175

2,541

0.09

24,495

2,165

0.09

21,660

1,887

0.09

North Dakota

415

212

0.51

1,805

501

0.28

1,265

343

0.27

1,105

426

0.39

Ohio

13,525

1,331

0.10

11,720

1,531

0.13

12,625

1,638

0.13

16,370

1,932

0.12

Oklahoma

5,935

1,021

0.17

6,515

1,025

0.16

7,950

1,123

0.14

5,305

902

0.17

Oregon

10,925

1,638

0.15

12,480

1,255

0.10

9,450

1,388

0.15

9,860

1,303

0.13

Pennsylvania

16,150

1,430

0.09

18,285

1,856

0.10

21,255

2,165

0.10

19,565

1,498

0.08

Rhode Island

4,610

1,169

0.25

3,465

712

0.21

3,410

798

0.23

3,205

636

0.20

South Carolina

11,865

1,452

0.12

7,005

903

0.13

9,715

1,200

0.12

5,695

845

0.15

South Dakota

1,835

876

0.48

715

241

0.34

665

185

0.28

180

176

0.98

Tennessee

9,800

1,260

0.13

10,845

1,152

0.11

11,885

1,333

0.11

10,150

1,670

0.16

Texas

130,990

5,851

0.04

122,375

5,277

0.04

110,375

5,088

0.05

95,575

4,515

0.05

Utah

7,410

1,179

0.16

7,950

1,048

0.13

9,420

1,115

0.12

8,630

1,569

0.18

Vermont

645

178

0.28

880

394

0.45

805

204

0.25

970

283

0.29

Virginia

25,835

2,306

0.09

26,545

2,072

0.08

23,800

1,673

0.07

22,240

1,691

0.08

Washington

24,375

2,018

0.08

28,775

3,064

0.11

31,535

2,641

0.08

24,160

2,083

0.09

West Virginia

200

108

0.54

945

252

0.27

1,335

318

0.24

2,095

573

0.27

Wisconsin

8,805

1,057

0.12

9,110

1,029

0.11

7,525

890

0.12

6,300

1,010

0.16

Wyoming

1,085

422

0.39

1,290

362

0.28

680

281

0.41

165

92

0.56

United States

1,082,255

17,490

0.02

1,046,930

14,440

0.01

1,008,330

13777

0.01

895,760

15,175

0.02

NOTES: SE = standard error; CV = coefficients of variation.

SOURCE: U.S. Census Bureau Special Tabulations.

Suggested Citation:"6 Comparability of Estimates of Immigrant School-Age Children." National Research Council. 2011. Allocating Federal Funds for State Programs for English Language Learners. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13090.
×

TABLE 6-3 Average Number of Immigrant Children and Youth Aged 3-21, by State

State

ACS 2005-2007

ACS 2006-2008

Estimate

SE

CV

Estimate

SE

CV

Alabama

8,680

575

0.07

7,295

607

0.08

Alaska

2,080

483

0.23

1,800

303

0.17

Arizona

35,815

1,995

0.06

30,470

1,584

0.05

Arkansas

5,355

486

0.09

5,300

557

0.11

California

225,860

4,538

0.02

198,565

3,896

0.02

Colorado

14,790

942

0.06

13,305

787

0.06

Connecticut

11,480

938

0.08

11,040

794

0.07

Delaware

1,950

367

0.19

1,455

353

0.24

District of Columbia

2,360

312

0.13

2,165

260

0.12

Florida

89,035

2,463

0.03

80,605

2,367

0.03

Georgia

31,355

1,458

0.05

27,390

1,319

0.05

Hawaii

6,540

713

0.11

7,065

913

0.13

Idaho

4,715

793

0.17

4,195

527

0.13

Illinois

39,335

1,603

0.04

36,725

1,497

0.04

Indiana

11,545

733

0.06

9,980

605

0.06

Iowa

4,635

404

0.09

4,935

459

0.09

Kansas

6,740

547

0.08

6,340

623

0.10

Kentucky

6,370

584

0.09

5,785

505

0.09

Louisiana

4,820

674

0.14

5,230

578

0.11

Maine

1,345

293

0.22

1,650

353

0.21

Maryland

24,730

1,313

0.05

22,530

1,268

0.06

Massachusetts

24,605

1,118

0.05

24,085

1,312

0.05

Michigan

21,035

1,208

0.06

19,370

907

0.05

Minnesota

16,315

956

0.06

14,895

1,005

0.07

Mississippi

3,425

472

0.14

3,315

426

0.13

Missouri

8,280

696

0.08

8,230

678

0.08

Montana

1,060

190

0.18

1,305

228

0.17

Nebraska

4,075

477

0.12

3,785

422

0.11

Nevada

10,925

789

0.07

11,055

931

0.08

New Hampshire

1,995

281

0.14

1,860

319

0.17

New Jersey

36,740

1,357

0.04

36,920

1,386

0.04

New Mexico

6,105

588

0.10

5,265

557

0.11

New York

88,090

2,421

0.03

8,5340

2,635

0.03

North Carolina

25,720

1,382

0.05

23,915

1,160

0.05

North Dakota

1,455

270

0.19

1,300

200

0.15

Ohio

13,595

1,006

0.07

13,660

1,013

0.07

Oklahoma

7,345

622

0.08

6,920

687

0.10

Oregon

11,435

921

0.08

10,615

945

0.09

Pennsylvania

19,500

1,315

0.07

19,725

1,095

0.06

Rhode Island

3,920

564

0.14

3,350

483

0.14

South Carolina

9,950

810

0.08

7,910

713

0.09

South Dakota

1,155

300

0.26

540

135

0.25

Suggested Citation:"6 Comparability of Estimates of Immigrant School-Age Children." National Research Council. 2011. Allocating Federal Funds for State Programs for English Language Learners. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13090.
×

State

ACS 2005-2007

ACS 2006-2008

Estimate

SE

CV

Estimate

SE

CV

Tennessee

11,460

905

0.08

10,660

759

0.07

Texas

122,765

3,237

0.03

109,105

2,996

0.03

Utah

8,535

828

0.10

8,685

811

0.09

Vermont

745

138

0.19

800

160

0.20

Virginia

25,690

1,291

0.05

23,380

1,129

0.05

Washington

27,935

1,260

0.05

27,800

1,528

0.05

West Virginia

1,045

217

0.21

1,520

263

0.17

Wisconsin

8,615

673

0.08

7,340

518

0.07

Wyoming

1,005

223

0.22

750

164

0.22

United States

1,064,075

8853

0.01

977,220

9,638

0.01

NOTES: SE = standard error; CV = coefficients of variation.

SOURCE: U.S. Census Bureau Special Tabulations.

The corresponding standard errors are shown in Table 6-5. The percentage shares are the basis for the portion of the Title III allocations based on immigrants. The nine states with the largest shares—Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Texas, and Washington—together account for more than 70 percent of immigrant youth.

We also calculated the ratio of immigrant children and youth aged 5-18 to all children and youth within each state of that age who are enrolled in public school. This ratio is computed by simply dividing the ACS estimate of immigrant children and youth enrolled in public school by the ACS estimate of all children and youth in public school: see Table 6-6.

Tables 6-3 through 6-6 are based on special tabulations of ACS data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Sensitivity of the Estimates to Variation in Subpopulations

We analyzed how the percentage share of states in the 3-year ACS estimates for 2006-2008 were affected by modifying the statutory criteria (3-21 years old, foreign born, and entered the United States after a particular year) to assess sensitivity of allocations to these criteria. We first limited the count to those aged 5-18 years old, an age range more similar to those reported to the states by local education authorities. We also examined the effect of limiting the count to either only those enrolled in school or only those enrolled in public schools.

Table 6-7 compares allocations with various combinations of these modifications to those under the base (statutory) criteria. Variations in age criteria did not influence the allocation of states very much (mean absolute difference, MAD, of 0.09%). For those aged 3-21, restricting the estimates to enrolled children and youth

Suggested Citation:"6 Comparability of Estimates of Immigrant School-Age Children." National Research Council. 2011. Allocating Federal Funds for State Programs for English Language Learners. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13090.
×

TABLE 6-4 Share of Immigrant Children and Youth Aged 3-21, by State (in percentage)

State

ACS 2005

ACS 2006

ACS 2007

ACS 2008

ACS 2005-2007

ACS 2006-2008

Alabama

0.71

0.70

0.97

0.60

0.82

0.75

Alaska

0.09

0.17

0.25

0.12

0.20

0.18

Arizona

3.29

3.11

3.73

2.48

3.37

3.12

Arkansas

0.43

0.51

0.57

0.50

0.50

0.54

California

23.22

20.45

20.66

20.04

21.23

20.32

Colorado

1.56

1.28

1.34

1.43

1.39

1.36

Connecticut

0.99

1.08

1.10

1.13

1.08

1.13

Delaware

0.23

0.19

0.15

0.12

0.18

0.15

District of Columbia

0.12

0.39

0.14

0.18

0.22

0.22

Florida

8.64

8.48

8.26

7.79

8.37

8.25

Georgia

3.41

2.98

2.61

3.18

2.95

2.80

Hawaii

0.61

0.81

0.51

0.87

0.61

0.72

Idaho

0.46

0.34

0.41

0.49

0.44

0.43

Illinois

3.32

3.36

4.39

3.63

3.70

3.76

Indiana

1.11

1.07

1.06

1.02

1.08

1.02

Iowa

0.38

0.45

0.45

0.62

0.44

0.51

Kansas

0.56

0.67

0.68

0.71

0.63

0.65

Kentucky

0.49

0.53

0.63

0.64

0.60

0.59

Louisiana

0.29

0.48

0.59

0.55

0.45

0.54

Maine

0.09

0.16

0.11

0.17

0.13

0.17

Maryland

2.47

2.29

2.21

2.18

2.32

2.31

Massachusetts

2.21

2.09

2.42

2.93

2.31

2.46

Michigan

1.91

1.69

2.16

2.11

1.98

1.98

Minnesota

1.33

1.65

1.50

1.23

1.53

1.52

Mississippi

0.25

0.28

0.33

0.38

0.32

0.34

Missouri

0.68

0.70

0.80

1.00

0.78

0.84

Montana

0.04

0.12

0.14

0.09

0.10

0.13

Nebraska

0.38

0.46

0.28

0.43

0.38

0.39

Nevada

0.87

1.14

1.13

1.07

1.03

1.13

New Hampshire

0.11

0.25

0.16

0.16

0.19

0.19

New Jersey

3.57

3.68

3.42

4.21

3.45

3.78

New Mexico

0.53

0.90

0.39

0.26

0.57

0.54

New York

7.70

9.09

7.87

9.38

8.28

8.73

North Carolina

2.58

2.60

2.43

2.42

2.42

2.45

North Dakota

0.04

0.17

0.13

0.12

0.14

0.13

Ohio

1.25

1.12

1.25

1.83

1.28

1.40

Oklahoma

0.55

0.62

0.79

0.59

0.69

0.71

Oregon

1.01

1.19

0.94

1.10

1.07

1.09

Pennsylvania

1.49

1.75

2.11

2.18

1.83

2.02

Rhode Island

0.43

0.33

0.34

0.36

0.37

0.34

South Carolina

1.10

0.67

0.96

0.64

0.94

0.81

South Dakota

0.17

0.07

0.07

0.02

0.11

0.06

Tennessee

0.91

1.04

1.18

1.13

1.08

1.09

Texas

12.10

11.69

10.95

10.67

11.54

11.16

Utah

0.68

0.76

0.93

0.96

0.80

0.89

Vermont

0.06

0.08

0.08

0.11

0.07

0.08

Virginia

2.39

2.54

2.36

2.48

2.41

2.39

Washington

2.25

2.75

3.13

2.70

2.63

2.84

West Virginia

0.02

0.09

0.13

0.23

0.10

0.16

Wisconsin

0.81

0.87

0.75

0.70

0.81

0.75

Wyoming

0.10

0.12

0.07

0.02

0.09

0.08

SOURCE: U.S. Census Bureau Special Tabulations.

Suggested Citation:"6 Comparability of Estimates of Immigrant School-Age Children." National Research Council. 2011. Allocating Federal Funds for State Programs for English Language Learners. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13090.
×

TABLE 6-5 Standard Errors of Shares of Immigrant Children and Youth Aged 3-21, by State (in percentage)

State

ACS 2005

ACS 2006

ACS 2007

ACS 2008

ACS 2005-2007

ACS 2006-2008

Alabama

0.08

0.08

0.14

0.10

0.05

0.06

Alaska

0.04

0.05

0.07

0.05

0.05

0.03

Arizona

0.26

0.27

0.31

0.27

0.19

0.16

Arkansas

0.09

0.08

0.10

0.10

0.05

0.06

California

0.76

0.55

0.57

0.68

0.39

0.34

Colorado

0.17

0.15

0.15

0.16

0.09

0.08

Connecticut

0.13

0.15

0.15

0.12

0.09

0.08

Delaware

0.05

0.07

0.05

0.05

0.03

0.04

District of Columbia

0.04

0.08

0.05

0.04

0.03

0.03

Florida

0.37

0.42

0.36

0.61

0.22

0.23

Georgia

0.27

0.20

0.21

0.29

0.13

0.13

Hawaii

0.14

0.12

0.08

0.25

0.07

0.09

Idaho

0.12

0.08

0.07

0.08

0.07

0.05

Illinois

0.24

0.26

0.28

0.27

0.15

0.15

Indiana

0.13

0.14

0.10

0.13

0.07

0.06

Iowa

0.07

0.07

0.08

0.09

0.04

0.05

Kansas

0.08

0.12

0.09

0.11

0.05

0.06

Kentucky

0.09

0.06

0.12

0.11

0.05

0.05

Louisiana

0.06

0.08

0.11

0.10

0.06

0.06

Maine

0.05

0.04

0.04

0.05

0.03

0.04

Maryland

0.24

0.17

0.19

0.15

0.12

0.13

Massachusetts

0.17

0.17

0.21

0.25

0.10

0.13

Michigan

0.21

0.19

0.20

0.21

0.11

0.09

Minnesota

0.14

0.19

0.15

0.13

0.09

0.10

Mississippi

0.06

0.06

0.05

0.10

0.04

0.04

Missouri

0.11

0.11

0.10

0.11

0.07

0.07

Montana

0.02

0.03

0.05

0.03

0.02

0.02

Nebraska

0.08

0.07

0.06

0.09

0.04

0.04

Nevada

0.11

0.13

0.15

0.16

0.07

0.09

New Hampshire

0.03

0.07

0.04

0.04

0.03

0.03

New Jersey

0.24

0.21

0.24

0.26

0.12

0.14

New Mexico

0.10

0.14

0.08

0.06

0.06

0.06

New York

0.34

0.40

0.36

0.39

0.22

0.26

North Carolina

0.33

0.24

0.21

0.21

0.13

0.12

North Dakota

0.02

0.05

0.03

0.05

0.03

0.02

Ohio

0.12

0.15

0.16

0.21

0.09

0.10

Oklahoma

0.09

0.10

0.11

0.10

0.06

0.07

Oregon

0.15

0.12

0.14

0.14

0.09

0.10

Pennsylvania

0.13

0.18

0.21

0.16

0.12

0.11

Rhode Island

0.11

0.07

0.08

0.07

0.05

0.05

South Carolina

0.13

0.09

0.12

0.09

0.08

0.07

South Dakota

0.08

0.02

0.02

0.02

0.03

0.01

Tennessee

0.12

0.11

0.13

0.19

0.08

0.08

Texas

0.50

0.48

0.48

0.47

0.29

0.29

Utah

0.11

0.10

0.11

0.17

0.08

0.08

Vermont

0.02

0.04

0.02

0.03

0.01

0.02

Virginia

0.21

0.19

0.16

0.18

0.12

0.11

Washington

0.18

0.29

0.26

0.23

0.12

0.15

West Virginia

0.01

0.02

0.03

0.06

0.02

0.03

Wisconsin

0.10

0.10

0.09

0.11

0.06

0.05

Wyoming

0.04

0.03

0.03

0.01

0.02

0.02

SOURCE: U.S. Census Bureau Special Tabulations.

Suggested Citation:"6 Comparability of Estimates of Immigrant School-Age Children." National Research Council. 2011. Allocating Federal Funds for State Programs for English Language Learners. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13090.
×

TABLE 6-6 Ratio of Immigrant Children Aged 5-18 Enrolled in Public School to All Children Aged 5-18 Enrolled in Public School (in percentage)

State

ACS 2005

ACS 2006

ACS 2007

ACS 2008

ACS 2005-2007

ACS 2006-2008

Alabama

0.32

0.29

0.38

0.28

0.36

0.35

Alaska

0.20

0.88

1.01

0.58

0.87

0.88

Arizona

1.56

1.40

1.46

0.81

1.51

1.22

Arkansas

0.43

0.49

0.59

0.09

0.52

0.42

California

1.81

1.45

1.45

1.27

1.57

1.39

Colorado

0.90

0.86

0.72

0.67

0.86

0.74

Connecticut

0.86

1.04

0.98

0.77

0.97

0.95

Delaware

0.85

1.08

0.63

0.50

0.82

0.71

District of Columbia

0.90

1.93

1.19

0.40

1.28

1.08

Florida

1.77

1.58

1.52

1.29

1.64

1.46

Georgia

0.91

0.68

0.59

0.76

0.74

0.68

Hawaii

2.68

3.11

1.53

2.31

2.37

2.29

Idaho

1.18

0.77

0.62

0.87

0.94

0.80

Illinois

0.78

0.69

0.90

0.68

0.80

0.75

Indiana

0.48

0.43

0.36

0.35

0.41

0.36

Iowa

0.43

0.39

0.37

0.49

0.38

0.44

Kansas

0.84

0.58

0.53

0.50

0.67

0.54

Kentucky

0.42

0.32

0.38

0.43

0.39

0.38

Louisiana

0.21

0.16

0.32

0.30

0.23

0.23

Maine

0.13

0.50

0.17

0.25

0.27

0.40

Maryland

1.76

1.40

1.36

1.18

1.50

1.36

Massachusetts

1.21

0.95

1.21

1.09

1.14

1.08

Michigan

0.62

0.57

0.67

0.62

0.62

0.61

Minnesota

0.98

1.15

0.93

0.65

1.04

0.96

Mississippi

0.09

0.18

0.09

0.35

0.16

0.26

Missouri

0.38

0.38

0.31

0.40

0.38

0.38

Montana

0.12

0.52

0.21

0.21

0.34

0.45

Nebraska

0.35

0.66

0.47

0.65

0.54

0.57

Nevada

0.87

0.89

0.96

1.20

0.92

1.03

New Hampshire

0.31

0.55

0.18

0.19

0.36

0.28

New Jersey

1.22

1.26

1.22

1.52

1.23

1.37

New Mexico

0.74

1.29

0.72

0.19

0.89

0.72

New York

1.42

1.45

1.26

1.35

1.37

1.34

North Carolina

0.99

0.65

0.74

0.57

0.78

0.68

North Dakota

0.12

0.56

0.36

0.63

0.40

0.45

Ohio

0.44

0.30

0.28

0.37

0.36

0.32

Oklahoma

0.28

0.38

0.60

0.28

0.43

0.45

Oregon

0.77

0.79

0.61

0.58

0.76

0.65

Pennsylvania

0.46

0.44

0.59

0.41

0.49

0.47

Rhode Island

1.00

1.31

1.41

0.79

1.29

1.20

South Carolina

0.87

0.31

0.52

0.29

0.61

0.43

South Dakota

0.99

0.31

0.15

0.00

0.52

0.15

Tennessee

0.36

0.36

0.41

0.41

0.40

0.42

Texas

1.54

1.26

1.20

1.01

1.35

1.17

Utah

0.56

0.54

0.55

0.65

0.59

0.59

Vermont

0.09

0.66

0.28

0.42

0.28

0.37

Virginia

0.99

0.86

0.99

0.80

0.94

0.84

Washington

1.12

1.48

1.65

1.10

1.41

1.41

West Virginia

0.04

0.14

0.09

0.47

0.08

0.23

Wisconsin

0.47

0.50

0.28

0.32

0.42

0.36

Wyoming

0.15

0.69

0.20

0.13

0.40

0.36

SOURCE: U.S. Census Bureau Special Tabulations.

Suggested Citation:"6 Comparability of Estimates of Immigrant School-Age Children." National Research Council. 2011. Allocating Federal Funds for State Programs for English Language Learners. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13090.
×

TABLE 6-7 Difference in the Percentage Share of Immigrants Aged 3-21 of States by Age Group, Enrollment Status, and Type of School

Modification to Base Criteria

Mean Absolute Difference in Share

Mean Absolute Relative Difference

Age Group Limited to 5-18 Years Old

 

 

All

0.09

8.26

Large

0.23

3.70

Medium

0.08

7.05

Small

0.03

9.18

Minimum

0.02

17.02

Enrollment in School

 

 

All

0.16

12.46

Large

0.43

7.05

Medium

0.17

10.73

Small

0.05

13.74

Minimum

0.03

23.45

Enrolled in Public School

 

 

All

0.10

11.84

Large

0.19

5.45

Medium

0.12

8.68

Small

0.04

14.13

Minimum

0.04

26.74

5-18 Years Old and Enrolled in Public School

 

 

All

0.13

12.87

Large

0.29

5.88

Medium

0.14

10.86

Small

0.07

17.56

Minimum

0.02

18.64

NOTES:

Large States: Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Washington.

Medium States: Colorado, Connecticut, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, New Mexico, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin.

Small States: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, West Virginia.

Minimum States: District of Columbia, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, Wyoming.

causes a larger change in state allocations (MAD of 0.16 percent and MARD [mean absolute relative difference] of 12.46 percent). The estimates of immigrant children and youth are more sensitive to the restriction of enrolled status than the restric­tion of enrolled in public school. When the criterion is restricted to public school enrolled, the MAD is 0.10 percent and the MARD is 11.84 percent.

Suggested Citation:"6 Comparability of Estimates of Immigrant School-Age Children." National Research Council. 2011. Allocating Federal Funds for State Programs for English Language Learners. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13090.
×

Reliability of Estimates of Change

We also assessed the reliability of estimates of change in the ACS ratio (as defined above), by assessing both interyear reliability of estimates of change and the significance of between-year changes in rates. An analysis of the interunit reliability of changes in ratios between consecutive years (following the procedures used to compute this measure in Chapter 2) yields results broadly similar to those in Chapter 2 for ELL estimates. Indeed, a global test of changes in ratio from 2006 to 2007 (using an ANOVA F-test) found that overall the changes were not significant (F < 1). Correspondingly, the estimates’ variance components for interyear change in ratio was zero, indicating that the amount of change observed could be entirely explained by sampling variation. From 2007 to 2008, change was significant (F = .72, p ≈ 0.001), but the reliability of the estimates of changes were generally small, at most 0.62 for any state and less than 0.50 for more than three-quarters of the states. Thus, across the range of state sizes, interyear changes were still largely confounded with sampling variation.

However, there were some outlying state changes in ratio that appeared statistically significant, as assessed by t-tests2 of interyear changes: see Table 6-8. A total of 12 states (Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Hawaii, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin) had large and significant changes in their immigrant shares (based on 1-year estimates) relative to the previous year. Of these states, Montana is a “minimum” state whose allocation is unaffected by modest changes in immigrant population; Arizona and Washington are both “large” states and had large and significant changes in their immigrant share from 2007 to 2008; the other nine states that had big changes are “medium” or “small” states.

These large changes are most sensitively picked up by 1-year estimates. However, using those estimates gives great weight to interyear changes that in most states are mainly noise. This result supports use of the 3-year estimates on grounds of greater stability.

STATE PROCEDURES FOR DETERMINING IMMIGRANT STATUS

Although the state estimates of the immigrant population start with a standard definition that has been promulgated by the DoEd, the states take different pathways to identifying and reporting this group. The administrative record counts of immigrant students begin in the local school districts. The procedures for each state are established by the state education officials to ensure that reports received from the

2

Generally, t-tests are the conventional tests for comparison of two independent sample means.

Suggested Citation:"6 Comparability of Estimates of Immigrant School-Age Children." National Research Council. 2011. Allocating Federal Funds for State Programs for English Language Learners. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13090.
×

TABLE 6-8 Absolute Difference and Absolute Relative Difference in Ratio of Immigrant Children and Youth (in percentage)

State

ACS 2006 versus ACS 2005

ACS 2007 versus ACS 2006

ACS 2008 versus ACS 2007

ACS 2006-2008 versus ACS 2005-2007

Absolute Difference

Absolute Relative Difference

Absolute Difference

Absolute Relative Difference

Absolute Difference

Absolute Relative Difference

Absolute Difference

Absolute Relative Difference

Alabama

0.03

2.72

0.09

6.39

0.09

7.20

0.01

0.68

Alaska

0.68

31.17

0.13

3.48

0.44

13.78

0.01

0.24

Arizona

0.16

2.70

0.07

1.20

0.66

14.51

0.29

5.23

Arkansas

0.07

3.58

0.10

4.70

0.50

36.38

0.10

5.33

California

0.35

5.40

0.01

0.15

0.17

3.22

0.19

3.13

Colorado

0.04

1.08

0.14

4.51

0.04

1.56

0.12

3.67

Connecticut

0.18

4.75

0.06

1.53

0.21

5.90

0.02

0.54

Delaware

0.23

6.01

0.44

12.93

0.13

5.67

0.10

3.41

District of Columbia

1.03

18.17

0.74

11.92

0.79

24.91

0.20

4.18

Florida

0.19

2.89

0.06

1.01

0.23

4.05

0.18

2.89

Georgia

0.23

7.18

0.09

3.36

0.16

6.08

0.06

2.10

Hawaii

0.43

3.68

1.58

17.05

0.78

10.20

0.09

0.93

Idaho

0.41

10.50

0.15

5.37

0.25

8.27

0.14

4.17

Illinois

0.10

3.27

0.21

6.64

0.22

7.04

0.06

1.84

Indiana

0.05

2.55

0.07

4.36

0.01

0.53

0.04

2.70

Iowa

0.04

2.69

0.02

1.16

0.12

7.14

0.06

3.75

Kansas

0.26

9.03

0.05

2.40

0.02

1.17

0.12

5.15

Kentucky

0.10

6.85

0.06

4.48

0.05

3.04

0.01

0.51

Louisiana

0.05

6.96

0.17

17.52

0.03

2.11

0.01

0.84

Maine

0.37

28.88

0.34

25.10

0.08

10.02

0.13

9.37

Maryland

0.36

5.66

0.04

0.68

0.18

3.60

0.14

2.53

Massachusetts

0.27

6.14

0.26

6.03

0.11

2.43

0.06

1.36

Michigan

0.05

2.13

0.10

4.16

0.05

1.94

0.01

0.55

Suggested Citation:"6 Comparability of Estimates of Immigrant School-Age Children." National Research Council. 2011. Allocating Federal Funds for State Programs for English Language Learners. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13090.
×

Minnesota

0.16

3.86

0.21

5.09

0.28

8.80

0.08

2.08

Mississippi

0.09

16.79

0.09

16.11

0.26

29.27

0.10

11.88

Missouri

0.00

0.16

0.07

4.89

0.09

6.16

0.00

0.09

Montana

0.39

30.57

0.31

21.02

0.00

0.06

0.11

6.72

Nebraska

0.31

15.14

0.19

8.25

0.17

7.62

0.04

1.60

Nevada

0.01

0.42

0.07

1.85

0.24

5.63

0.11

2.85

New Hampshire

0.24

13.82

0.37

24.97

0.01

0.89

0.08

6.03

New Jersey

0.05

0.92

0.05

0.95

0.31

5.58

0.13

2.58

New Mexico

0.56

13.75

0.57

14.22

0.53

29.50

0.16

5.11

New York

0.04

0.63

0.19

3.45

0.09

1.69

0.03

0.63

North Carolina

0.34

10.33

0.08

2.92

0.16

6.12

0.10

3.48

North Dakota

0.44

32.62

0.20

10.73

0.27

13.53

0.05

3.08

Ohio

0.14

9.54

0.02

1.49

0.08

6.55

0.04

2.93

Oklahoma

0.10

7.94

0.21

10.94

0.31

17.92

0.02

1.38

Oregon

0.02

0.58

0.18

6.58

0.03

1.12

0.11

3.79

Pennsylvania

0.02

1.32

0.16

7.59

0.19

9.26

0.02

0.87

Rhode Island

0.31

6.81

0.09

1.69

0.62

14.12

0.08

1.67

South Carolina

0.56

23.78

0.21

12.68

0.23

14.07

0.18

8.54

South Dakota

0.67

25.82

0.17

17.85

0.15

50.00

0.38

28.03

Tennessee

0.00

0.11

0.05

3.41

0.00

0.14

0.02

1.07

Texas

0.28

4.98

0.06

1.26

0.19

4.33

0.18

3.58

Utah

0.02

0.85

0.01

0.42

0.10

4.09

0.00

0.04

Vermont

0.58

38.31

0.39

20.49

0.14

10.23

0.09

6.84

Virginia

0.14

3.70

0.13

3.61

0.19

5.40

0.10

2.85

Washington

0.36

6.89

0.17

2.72

0.55

10.05

0.01

0.10

West Virginia

0.10

29.28

0.05

10.81

0.38

34.06

0.15

23.82

Wisconsin

0.03

1.38

0.22

13.85

0.04

3.16

0.06

4.08

Wyoming

0.54

32.24

0.49

27.46

0.07

10.25

0.04

2.93

NOTE: The percentages in boldface indicate large and significant changes relative to the previous year.

Suggested Citation:"6 Comparability of Estimates of Immigrant School-Age Children." National Research Council. 2011. Allocating Federal Funds for State Programs for English Language Learners. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13090.
×

local school districts within the state are comparable.3 In addition, as mentioned in Chapter 1, states are also required to use up to 15 percent of their Title III allotments for school districts with significant increases in school enrollment of immigrant children and youth.

Although all states use a common definition of immigrant students—students who were born outside the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands who are between 3 and 21 years of age and were enrolled for the first time in a U.S. school on or after a date 3 years ago—nuances in timing and reporting procedures may affect comparability from state to state. For example, in our review of state procedures we found that timing of the reference and submission periods varied between states. For example, the counts in California are the larger of counts that can be taken on October 7 or March 1, at the option of the local education authority (California Department of Education, 2010a). In Illinois, the counts are supposed to be taken in November and December and reported on January 15 (Illinois State Board of Education, 2009). And in New Jersey, the 2010 count was as of April, to be reported in May (New Jersey Department of Education, 2010).

The counts of immigrant children include both public and private school immigrant students. They are most often collected by local education agencies (LEAs), but, in at least one state, the data for private schools are to be forwarded directly from the private schools to the state education agency (SEA). Because of different reporting procedures, there is considerable uncertainty about the quality and coverage of both the public and private counts, although there is some evidence that state agencies do attempt to standardize the reporting. An example of the effort taken to assure the integrity of these estimates is the form with instructions provided to the local school districts by the Illinois State Board of Education: see Figure 6-1.4 Other states have similar structured processes for determining the counts for immigrant education plans.

In sum, the panel agrees with the assessment of the 2006 U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) assessment that, despite documented attempts to standardize the reporting of immigrant student counts in the states, the GAO reported that, “with regard to data states collect on the number of children and youth who are recent immigrants, state officials expressed a lack of confidence in these data” (U.S. Government Accountability Office, 2006b, p. 23).

In part, the problem arose in the process of initially identifying immigrant students who met the definition. The GAO reported that its investigators were told by state officials in some of the 12 study states that “these data were not very reliable because school and school district officials did not ask about immigration

3

Within-state comparability is important because there are monetary consequences associated with these counts under the Immigrant Education Program (IEP). The immigrant student counts determine the local education agency’s eligibility for Title III IEP funds, and the amount of those funds that each local school district will receive.

4

In 2009-2010, some $881,000 in Title III IEP funds were distributed in Illinois to local school districts based on the counts provided in the state report.

Suggested Citation:"6 Comparability of Estimates of Immigrant School-Age Children." National Research Council. 2011. Allocating Federal Funds for State Programs for English Language Learners. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13090.
×
FIGURE 6-1 Rules for determining immigrant education program students in Illinois, 2009-2010 school year.

FIGURE 6-1 Rules for determining immigrant education program students in Illinois, 2009-2010 school year.

SOURCE: Illinois State Board of Education (2009, p. 3).

status directly” (U.S. Government Accountability Office, 2006b, p. 23). The GAO found that the school officials who were in charge of identifying recent immigrant students relied on such information as the student’s place of birth and date of entry into the school system rather than taking steps to independently verify the student’s status as a recent immigrant.

It is understandable that local school districts would be reluctant to pry too deeply into immigration status in order to verify eligibility as a recent immigrant student. The Supreme Court has ruled that public schools are prohibited from denying immigrant students access to public education on the basis of their immigrant status (Plyler v. Doe, 457 U.S. 202, 1982). Local school officials are encouraged, “when making inquiries for purposes of determining eligibility, to solicit voluntary information from parents and students or finding alternative ways of identifying and documenting the eligibility of students” (emphasis added) (New Jersey Department of Education, 2010, p. 3). The GAO report noted that officials in one state admitted that, in the absence of documentation, they assumed that students born outside the United States who entered the state’s school system within the last 3 years were recent immigrants (U.S. Government Accountability Office, 2006b, p. 23).

Suggested Citation:"6 Comparability of Estimates of Immigrant School-Age Children." National Research Council. 2011. Allocating Federal Funds for State Programs for English Language Learners. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13090.
×

COMPARISON OF ACS AND STATE ESTIMATES

There are important differences in the source, methodology, and results between the estimates of recent immigrant students that come from the ACS and the counts provided by the local school districts through the states. The differences in source and methodology were summarized in the GAO report: see Table 6-9. Not surprisingly, the very different sources and methods used in the two allowable sources result in very different estimates of the recent immigrant student population by state.

One way to depict the differences is to compute the ratio of the state student immigration counts with the ACS estimates of recent immigrant students. This comparison is shown in Table 6-10. In 17 states, the state count was higher than the ACS estimate, while it was lower in the remaining 34 states and the District of Columbia.

These relationships are illustrated graphically in Figure 6-2, which shows the ACS and state-reported counts for each state, together with the regression line through the origin (lower dashed line) and the line of equality (upper dashed line). Dotted lines around each state abbreviation represent 95 percent confidence intervals. Almost every state is below the line of equality, illustrating the generally lower

TABLE 6-9 Key Features of ACS and State-Collected Data on Immigrant Children and Youth

Feature

ACS Dataa

State-Collected Datab

Measures Provided

Number of foreign-born persons aged 3 to 21 who arrived in the United States within the 3 years prior to the survey

Number of (public and private school) students in grades K-12 identified as recent immigrants

How It Is Measured

Self-report (sample of population)

States make determinations based on student records or other information. Some states told us that they are not able to directly ask students questions related to their immigration status.

Timing

Annual average of monthly sample

Varies

Purpose

To comply with Immigration Nationality Act and Public Health Service Act requirements; to provide data to set and evaluate immigration policies and laws.

To comply with the ESEA requirement to assess progress of all limited English proficient children, including immigrant children and youth, to attain English proficiency

(Department of) Education’s Role in Data Collection

Work with Census to make sure appropriate questions are included. Can propose new questions, if necessary.

Education collects this number from the states in the Consolidated State Performance Reports.

aThis column refers to data obtained by the U.S. Department of Education from ACS, but ACS collects additional data.

bSome states may have data available for children prior to kindergarten.

SOURCE: U.S. Government Accountability Office (2006b, p. 23).

Suggested Citation:"6 Comparability of Estimates of Immigrant School-Age Children." National Research Council. 2011. Allocating Federal Funds for State Programs for English Language Learners. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13090.
×

TABLE 6-10 Comparison of State Student Immigrant Counts and American Community Survey Estimates of Recent Immigrant Students

State

ACS 3-Year Average, 2006-2008 Estimate

State 2007-2008 School Year Count

Ratio of ACS Estimate to State Count

Alabama

7,295

4,142

1.761

Alaska

1,800

880

2.045

Arizona

30,470

15,503

1.965

Arkansas

5,300

4,187

1.266

California

198,565

241,024

0.824

Colorado

13,305

12,940

1.028

Connecticut

11,040

13,571

0.813

Delaware

1,455

1,164

1.250

District of Columbia

2,165

993

2.180

Florida

80,605

142,333

0.566

Georgia

27,390

33,891

0.808

Hawaii

7,065

3,032

2.330

Idaho

4,195

3,188

1.316

Illinois

36,725

43,274

0.849

Indiana

9,980

11,763

0.848

Iowa

4,935

4,122

1.197

Kansas

6,340

11,206

0.566

Kentucky

5,785

7426

0.779

Louisiana

5,230

2,583

2.025

Maine

1,650

431

3.828

Maryland

22,530

16,617

1.356

Massachusetts

24,085

20,458

1.177

Michigan

19,370

11,052

1.753

Minnesota

14,895

15,985

0.932

Mississippi

3,315

6,007

0.552

Missouri

8,230

442

18.620

Montana

1,305

170

7.676

Nebraska

3,785

3,609

1.049

Nevada

11,055

14,694

0.752

New Hampshire

1,860

1,769

1.051

New Jersey

36,920

36,614

1.008

New Mexico

5,265

11,606

0.454

New York

85,340

98,797

0.864

North Carolina

23,915

23,365

1.024

North Dakota

1,300

497

2.616

Ohio

13,660

11,309

1.208

Oklahoma

6,920

4,954

1.397

Oregon

10,615

2,397

4.428

Pennsylvania

19,725

11,387

1.732

Rhode Island

3,350

2,903

1.154

South Carolina

7,910

6,415

1.233

South Dakota

540

197

2.741

Suggested Citation:"6 Comparability of Estimates of Immigrant School-Age Children." National Research Council. 2011. Allocating Federal Funds for State Programs for English Language Learners. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13090.
×

State

ACS 3-Year Average, 2006-2008 Estimate

State 2007-2008 School Year Count

Ratio of ACS Estimate to State Count

Tennessee

10,660

1,5815

0.674

Texas

109,105

93,627

1.165

Utah

8,685

7,935

1.095

Vermont

800

556

1.439

Virginia

23,380

29,284

0.798

Washington

27,800

15,142

1.836

West Virginia

1,520

1,599

0.951

Wisconsin

7,340

5,882

1.248

Wyoming

750

391

1.918

United States

977,220

1,029,128

0.950

SOURCE: ACS estimates from U.S. Census Bureau Special Tabulation. State counts from U.S. Department of Education’s EDEN Database.

FIGURE 6-2 Immigrant ratio from state counts (2007-2008 academic year) and ACS 3-year estimates (2006-2008).

FIGURE 6-2 Immigrant ratio from state counts (2007-2008 academic year) and ACS 3-year estimates (2006-2008).

NOTES: The vertical dashed lines represent 95 percent confidence intervals for ACS estimates. The upper diagonal line is the line of equality; the lower diagonal line is proportional regression (regression through origin).

Suggested Citation:"6 Comparability of Estimates of Immigrant School-Age Children." National Research Council. 2011. Allocating Federal Funds for State Programs for English Language Learners. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13090.
×

ACS estimates. States are scattered above and below the regression line, indicating the deviations from proportionality of ACS and state-reported estimates. However, only in some cases are these deviations from proportionality statistically significant (confidence interval does not cross regression line).

TABLE 6-11 Comparison of Volatility in ACS Estimates of Youth Aged 5-18 and Enrolled in Public School and State Counts of Recent Immigrants (in percentage)

 

Sum of Absolute Difference in Share of States

Mean Absolute Relative Difference in Share of States

ACS 2006 to 2007

 

 

All

11.68

31.66

Large

3.83

8.98

Medium

5.32

21.85

Small

2.05

42.43

Minimum

0.48

73.09

ACS 2007 to 2008

 

 

All

15.97

38.08

Large

8.17

21.12

Medium

4.78

24.22

Small

2.75

53.58

Minimum

0.27

73.27

ACS 2005-2007 to 2006-2008

 

 

All

6.16

14.65

Large

3.53

6.34

Medium

1.71

8.22

Small

0.73

20.90

Minimum

0.20

34.01

State 2006-2007 to 2007-2008

 

 

All

9.76

26.62

Large

3.60

6.62

Medium

4.63

19.05

Small

0.93

20.11

Minimum

0.59

99.37

State 2007-2008 to 2008-2009

 

 

All

35.45

44.35

Large

22.92

33.61

Medium

10.28

47.39

Small

2.02

41.39

Minimum

0.23

57.20

Suggested Citation:"6 Comparability of Estimates of Immigrant School-Age Children." National Research Council. 2011. Allocating Federal Funds for State Programs for English Language Learners. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13090.
×

Volatility of State and ACS Estimates

As we did for the analysis of counts of ELL students (in Chapter 2), we report our assessment of changes in shares between consecutive years using several different measures of immigrant children, which are summarized in Table 6-11. Both the absolute and relative year-to-year changes in shares that are based on the 1-year ACS estimates are much greater than those that are based on the 3-year estimates. The 1-year estimates consequently are more volatile than the 3-year estimates, although they are also more responsive to year-to-year changes. In relative terms, the volatility of the ACS estimates increases monotonically from “large” to “small” states, as would be expected with diminished sample size, although in absolute terms the largest part of the share (and hence money moved) is in the “large” states.

The relative changes in share between consecutive 1-year ACS estimates are quite large, in most cases averaging more than 10 percent for all but the “large” states. This observation, with the earlier analysis of reliability of changes—which showed that interyear changes in these estimates are largely noise—together suggest that the volatility of the 1-year estimates outweighs the value of their greater responsiveness.

The interyear changes in shares based on state-provided data are surprisingly large, even though they are based on administrative data and therefore not subject to sampling error. This is especially notable from 2007-2008 to 2008-2009, when the shifts in share across states were even larger than those from single-year ACS estimates. (There seemed to be a substantial, but smaller, shift in single-year ACS estimates at about the same time.) This finding suggests that there might be substantial instability in the way child immigration counts are collected and reported by the states.

CONCLUSION 6-1 Due to greater stability and insensitivity to poorly estimated changes, the American Community Survey(ACS) 3-year estimates of immigrant children are statistically preferable to ACS 1-year estimates and more plausible at present than the state-provided counts.

ACS Data and LEA Reports

To better understand the relationship between ACS estimates and LEA-provided counts (through the states) of immigrant children, we performed an analysis of consistency between these measures across school districts within each state. The methods (correlations adjusted for sampling error and a hierarchical model), data (2006-2008 ACS), and inclusion criteria (districts with at least 20,000 population) are very similar to those presented in the parallel analysis of ELL rates in Chapter 5 and are not repeated here.

Table 6-12 presents summary statistics by state. Rates of immigrant status by school district vary substantially, often dramatically, within each state. ACS estimates are almost always lower than LEA-provided estimates, but the ratio varies greatly from state to state. This table shows that the state immigration rates were

Suggested Citation:"6 Comparability of Estimates of Immigrant School-Age Children." National Research Council. 2011. Allocating Federal Funds for State Programs for English Language Learners. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13090.
×

TABLE 6-12 Rates of Immigrant Children by Eligible School District

State

State Counts

State Immigrant Student Rates

ACS Overall Rate

Ratio of ACS/State

Unadjusted Correlation

School Enrollment

Number of LEAs

Overall Rate

Mean of LEAs

20th Percentile

80th Percentile

Alaska

77,679

4

1.0

0.5

0.0

1.3

1.0

0.97

0.16

Arizona

834,896

64

1.7

1.5

0.1

3.0

1.4

0.82

0.50

Arkansas

217,450

28

1.6

1.1

0.1

1.7

0.6

0.38

0.60

California

5,491,668

411

4.1

3.9

2.0

5.6

1.4

0.33

0.51

Colorado

640,769

33

1.9

2.1

0.3

3.0

0.8

0.42

0.42

Connecticut

378,744

56

3.2

2.5

1.1

3.7

1.2

0.38

0.75

Delaware

102,396

13

1.1

0.9

0.5

1.1

0.7

0.62

0.09

District of Columbia

57,877

1

1.3

1.3

1.3

1.3

1.1

0.82

NA

Florida

2,619,362

54

5.4

3.6

1.2

5.8

1.5

0.27

0.51

Georgia

1,412,950

91

2.3

1.2

0.3

1.8

0.7

0.32

0.66

Hawaii

179,897

1

1.7

1.7

1.7

1.7

2.3

1.36

NA

Indiana

701,769

86

1.4

1.3

0.3

2.2

0.5

0.33

0.59

Iowa

210,815

27

1.3

1.0

0.1

1.9

0.6

0.46

0.39

Kansas

250,297

23

4.3

2.7

0.4

2.5

0.8

0.19

–0.05

Kentucky

371,406

38

1.9

0.8

0.1

0.7

0.6

0.30

0.45

Louisiana

566,824

43

0.4

0.3

0.1

0.4

0.3

0.58

0.40

Maine

26,010

6

1.5

1.4

0.0

3.3

1.8

1.18

0.92

Maryland

843,426

23

2.0

1.0

0.2

1.3

1.4

0.69

0.68

Massachusetts

590,965

97

3.2

2.4

0.2

4.2

1.4

0.45

0.64

Michigan

445,557

46

1.9

1.9

0.3

3.0

1.0

0.53

0.60

Mississippi

288,725

42

1.5

1.4

0.4

2.4

0.3

0.22

0.26

Missouri

94,131

9

0.4

0.5

0.2

0.7

0.8

1.74

–0.12

Montana

34,686

8

0.4

0.6

0.1

0.8

0.9

2.16

–0.63

Nebraska

169,074

15

1.7

1.4

0.4

2.5

0.8

0.47

0.27

Suggested Citation:"6 Comparability of Estimates of Immigrant School-Age Children." National Research Council. 2011. Allocating Federal Funds for State Programs for English Language Learners. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13090.
×

State

State Counts

State Immigrant Student Rates

ACS Overall Rate

Ratio of ACS/State

Unadjusted Correlation

School Enrollment

Number of LEAs

Overall Rate

Mean of LEAs

20th Percentile

80th Percentile

Nevada

419,488

8

3.5

1.8

0.8

2.8

1.1

0.30

0.59

North Carolina

1,373,592

89

1.7

1.2

0.5

1.8

0.7

0.42

0.57

North Dakota

41,118

5

1.2

1.2

0.1

2.6

0.8

0.69

0.27

Oklahoma

274,584

23

1.5

1.0

0.3

1.8

0.7

0.46

0.33

Oregon

421,039

43

0.5

0.5

0.1

0.8

0.7

1.45

0.48

Pennsylvania

794,662

101

1.3

0.9

0.2

1.4

0.8

0.63

0.34

Rhode Island

112,975

19

2.2

1.1

0.2

1.5

1.4

0.63

0.72

South Carolina

632,088

49

1.0

0.8

0.2

1.3

0.5

0.47

0.54

Tennessee

806,634

61

2.0

0.9

0.1

1.5

0.5

0.23

0.30

Texas

3,616,573

183

2.4

1.7

0.6

2.5

1.3

0.56

0.60

Virginia

1,075,882

66

2.7

1.6

0.1

1.7

0.9

0.34

0.76

Washington

639,676

60

2.1

1.7

0.5

3.3

1.4

0.70

0.69

West Virginia

212,029

26

0.7

0.5

0.1

0.7

0.3

0.40

0.13

Wisconsin

413,481

49

1.1

0.8

0.3

1.2

0.5

0.43

0.36

NOTE: See text for discussion.

Suggested Citation:"6 Comparability of Estimates of Immigrant School-Age Children." National Research Council. 2011. Allocating Federal Funds for State Programs for English Language Learners. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13090.
×

TABLE 6-13 Relationship at the School District Level Between ACS Estimates and State-Provided Estimates of the Rate of Immigrant Children Among Public School Enrollees, in Eligible Districts as Described in Text, for States with at Least 10 Eligible Districts

 

Model with Intercept, State Data Rate

No-Intercept Model

Ratio of Sigma Estimates

Intercept Coefficient

State Coefficient

Sigma

Adjusted Correlation

State Coefficient

Sigma

Number of LEAs

Arizona

0.0071

0.1461

0.0035

0.6680

0.3562

0.0065

64

1.86

Arkansas

0.0028

0.1081

0.0004

0.9802

0.2268

0.0001

28

0.22

California

0.0033

0.1507

0.0036

0.7168

0.2217

0.0038

411

1.06

Colorado

0.0031

0.1506

0.0030

0.7115

0.2573

0.0032

33

1.05

Connecticut

−0.0015

0.3513

0.0011

0.9862

0.3003

0.0010

56

0.91

Delaware

0.0034

0.0030

0.0000

0.3748

0.2115

0.0001

13

1.17

Florida

0.0023

0.1699

0.0039

0.8306

0.2076

0.0038

54

0.98

Georgia

0.0007

0.2040

0.0016

0.8647

0.2328

0.0016

91

0.97

Indiana

0.0019

0.1100

0.0008

0.8801

0.1969

0.0011

86

1.43

Iowa

0.0015

0.1848

0.0007

0.9543

0.2636

0.0006

27

0.75

Kansas

0.0058

−0.0015

0.0005

0.1722

0.0271

0.0047

23

8.73

Kentucky

0.0021

0.1749

0.0001

0.9993

0.2432

0.0001

38

1.08

Louisiana

0.0003

0.2898

0.0003

0.9591

0.3554

0.0001

43

0.52

Maryland

0.0015

0.4868

0.0031

0.8727

0.5511

0.0032

23

1.01

Massachusetts

0.0031

0.2607

0.0015

0.9825

0.3320

0.0001

97

0.09

Michigan

0.0028

0.2796

0.0025

0.9454

0.3704

0.0025

46

1.00

Mississippi

0.0023

0.0936

0.0001

0.9956

0.1955

0.0001

42

1.05

Nebraska

0.0000

0.3624

0.0003

0.9965

0.3657

0.0003

15

0.85

North Carolina

−0.0003

0.2857

0.0013

0.9087

0.2686

0.0013

89

1.03

Oklahoma

0.0045

0.0144

0.0016

0.0836

0.2255

0.0028

23

1.76

Oregon

0.0023

0.8148

0.0015

0.9321

1.1533

0.0001

43

0.06

Pennsylvania

0.0041

0.0407

0.0020

0.1765

0.2971

0.0029

101

1.48

Suggested Citation:"6 Comparability of Estimates of Immigrant School-Age Children." National Research Council. 2011. Allocating Federal Funds for State Programs for English Language Learners. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13090.
×

 

Model with Intercept, State Data Rate

No-Intercept Model

Ratio of Sigma Estimates

Intercept Coefficient

State Coefficient

Sigma

Adjusted Correlation

State Coefficient

Sigma

Number of LEAs

Rhode Island

0.0016

0.4022

0.0002

0.9997

0.4494

0.0002

19

1.01

South Carolina

0.0023

0.1685

0.0015

0.5744

0.3782

0.0018

49

1.19

Tennessee

0.0020

0.0785

0.0012

0.6575

0.1358

0.0004

61

0.36

Texas

0.0019

0.3480

0.0031

0.8401

0.4218

0.0031

183

0.98

Virginia

0.0006

0.2743

0.0015

0.9836

0.2933

0.0014

66

0.94

Washington

0.0009

0.3521

0.0023

0.9128

0.3911

0.0027

60

1.15

West Virginia

0.0025

0.0736

0.0001

0.9938

0.2416

0.0001

26

1.12

Wisconsin

0.0024

0.0619

0.0012

0.4047

0.1859

0.0013

49

1.09

Suggested Citation:"6 Comparability of Estimates of Immigrant School-Age Children." National Research Council. 2011. Allocating Federal Funds for State Programs for English Language Learners. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13090.
×

substantially different from the ACS rates in many states. In the most populous state, California, the state reports yielded an immigrant student estimate of 4.1 percent of all students in school year 2007-2008 while the ACS estimate was 1.4 percent. In most, but not all states, the state-reported rates were higher than the ACS rates.

Table 6-12 also summarizes the strength of the association between ACS and state-provided rates within each state, corrected for overfitting due to sampling error. With some exceptions, these correlations tend to be generally quite high, with half of the 30 states included showing adjusted correlations of higher than 0.90. This finding suggests that the measures are usually fairly consistent within each state, holding constant the state procedures and to some extent the immigration patterns (to the extent that they are more consistent within than between states). However, the correlations are considerably weaker in some states, perhaps providing evidence of inconsistent collection of immigration data or of varying patterns of immigration that affect consistency of reporting.

We also tested the relationship at the school district level between ACS estimates and state-provided estimates of rate of immigrant children among public school enrollees. As shown in Table 6-13, the results are mixed, with some states showing a very good consistency between the ACS and state-provided numbers for immigrants, and other states showing a very weak relationship between the series. When compared with the results of this test for the ELL estimates and counts in Chapter 5, these findings suggest that there are perhaps systemic differences between the ACS and state-provided counts at the school district level. The results suggest the possibility of less consistent procedures and criteria within many states than was observed with the within-state counts of ELL students, an indication that caution should be exercised in using the state-provided counts of immigrant children.

Suggested Citation:"6 Comparability of Estimates of Immigrant School-Age Children." National Research Council. 2011. Allocating Federal Funds for State Programs for English Language Learners. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13090.
×

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×
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×
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×
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×
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×
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Suggested Citation:"6 Comparability of Estimates of Immigrant School-Age Children." National Research Council. 2011. Allocating Federal Funds for State Programs for English Language Learners. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13090.
×
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×
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×
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×
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×
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×
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×
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Allocating Federal Funds for State Programs for English Language Learners Get This Book
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As the United States continues to be a nation of immigrants and their children, the nation's school systems face increased enrollments of students whose primary language is not English. With the 2001 reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) in the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), the allocation of federal funds for programs to assist these students to be proficient in English became formula-based: 80 percent on the basis of the population of children with limited English proficiency1 and 20 percent on the basis of the population of recently immigrated children and youth.

Title III of NCLB directs the U.S. Department of Education to allocate funds on the basis of the more accurate of two allowable data sources: the number of students reported to the federal government by each state education agency or data from the American Community Survey (ACS). The department determined that the ACS estimates are more accurate, and since 2005, those data have been basis for the federal distribution of Title III funds.

Subsequently, analyses of the two data sources have raised concerns about that decision, especially because the two allowable data sources would allocate quite different amounts to the states. In addition, while shortcomings were noted in the data provided by the states, the ACS estimates were shown to fluctuate between years, causing concern among the states about the unpredictability and unevenness of program funding.

In this context, the U.S. Department of Education commissioned the National Research Council to address the accuracy of the estimates from the two data sources and the factors that influence the estimates. The resulting book also considers means of increasing the accuracy of the data sources or alternative data sources that could be used for allocation purposes.

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