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Immigrant Secondary Students in Washington State:
Population Trends and High School Diploma Programs

Conducted by: Washington State Institute for Public Policy
Released: January 2007 (PDF)

This report is an analysis of the availability, services, and effectiveness of programs in community and technical colleges that serve the educational needs of recent immigrant students who are not proficient in English and who are or have been enrolled in high school but have not met graduation requirements.” This review provides information about immigrant student population trends, special challenges, and academic outcomes, as well as a description of available programs in Washington and other states.

Key findings: This review finds that there are no CTC programs in Washington specifically designed to serve immigrant students seeking a high school diploma. Washington CTCs operate three types of diploma programs for any adult student: high school completion (29 programs), contract retrieval (10 programs), and technical high schools (three programs). Statewide, fewer than 200 immigrant students under age 22 enroll in these programs annually. No rigorous, empirical research examines the effectiveness of programs for immigrant secondary students, and Washington State currently does not systematically collect information about students’ immigration status. As a first step in improving and expanding high school completion programs for this population, the Institute recommends that the state track immigrant students in existing K–12 data systems.

Recommendation: The state should consider requiring school districts to identify immigrant students as part of the Core Student Record System (CSRS) data collection process. Ideally, this data element would also include information about students’ prior schooling in their home countries. If immigrant students are tracked in the CSRS rather than the TBIP dataset, the state could track all immigrant students (not just hose with limited English skills) and link this information with students’ WASL and other assessment results.

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