Federal law defines eligibility for English learner (EL) classification differently for Indigenous students compared to non-Indigenous students. Unlike non-Indigenous students, Indigenous students are not required to have a non-English home or primary language. A critical question, therefore, is how EL classification impacts Indigenous students' educational outcomes. This study explored this question for Alaska Native students, drawing on data from five Alaska school districts. The findings provided evidence that among students who scored near the EL classification threshold in kindergarten, EL classification has a large negative impact on Alaska Native students' academic outcomes, especially in the 3rd and 4th grades. Negative impacts were not found for non-Alaska Native students in the same districts.
Native American and Alaska Native Children