Oregon State University has received hundreds of thousands of dollars to study Oregon students who start school not knowing English - but learn the language at school.

Oregon students who become fluent in English at school are more likely to graduate from high school than students who start out knowing English.

Oregon's average graduation rate is about 69 percent. Students who successfully exit English support programs graduate 72 percent of the time.

But, if students are still English Language Learners - or ELL's - into high school, graduation rates are below the state average. The data leave Oregon's deputy superintendent, Rob Saxton with questions.

"One of them is - 'well, if it's true, then doesn't it make sense to pour on resources and get every ELL to exit as fast as possible?' - and yet, I don't know that we know the answer to that," Saxton said.

According to Saxton some of the most effective support programs take the longest to finish. He hopes the OSU study will offer advice on how to ensure the long-term success of English learners.

This story originally appeared on Oregon Public Broadcasting.

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