English Language Learners, School Type and Per-Pupil Spending

by Mia Zajec

Last updated on December 6, 2022

for Data Visualization for All
with Prof. Jack Dougherty
Trinity College, Hartford CT, USA


English language learners take up 8.8% of all enrolled students in the state of Connecticut. This term refers to students whose first language at home is not English. Meaning, while they are being educated, they are also involved in learning a new language. These students deserve attention which is why I have gone through the process of researching more details about their enrollment rates at different school types by towns and how per pupil spending is related to enrollment percentages by district. I have focused on the top 8 highest student populated towns in Connecticut and focused on which types of schools are most popular for English learners. The following school types I found data for are traditional public, magnet, charter, program and then grouped the others into one category. We can see which school types are more popular, containing a majority of English learners and compare this to the types of schools that have a smaller population of English language learners. I also looked into how percent of enrolled English language learners compares to the per-pupil spending by district. I found data for the central school districts around Hartford to distinguish a trend. These two questions can help us understand a general story about English language learners. Through research, results have shown traditional public schools are the most popular school type for English language learners from the eight towns I looked into. With the other school types accounting for a smaller percent of enrolled English language learners in these 8 towns. I also found a relationship between enrollment percentages and per pupil spendings. The general trend shows as percentage increases, per-pupil spending decreases. Drawing all this information allows us to see the education style and expenses for English language learners.



From the 8 towns researched, the most popular school types for English language learners are traditional public schools. The stacked bar chart below shows a visual of the percent of English language learners enrolled in each of these towns, broken up by school type. Each school type is coded to a different color, making it easy to see how much of the total enrollment in that town it takes up. The category labeled other, indicates all other school types of the population combined. This can include school types such as college affiliated, CT technical education and career, open choice and others. The lengths of each color making up the bars show how largely populated each school type is. When looking at the chart, there is a majority of blue for each bar. This indicates a large percent of English language learners for each town attend traditional public schools. We see that a small portion of these bars is taken up by all other school types. These results can prove the lack of English language learners enrolled and accepted into different types of schools, other than traditional public.

Figure 1: Explore the bar chart , comparing the enrollment rates of English language learners at different school types in the top 8 highest student enrollment Connecticut towns from SYE 2021-2022.


For the second question, I created a scatter plot to compare the two variables and visually portray their relationship to each other. English language learner enrollment percentage is on the horizontal axis of this chart and per-pupil spending is on the vertical axis. This setup allows the enrollment percentage to be the independent variable, and per-pupil spending the dependent variable, showing how it changes due to the percentage. Each blue dot on the chart represents a different district and when put all together a general trend can be formed. As the viewer drags their cursor over each blue dot, a pop up will read three key pieces of information including, the district name, per-pupil spending, and percent of English language learners enrolled. Looking at the map below, the trend line indicates a slight decreasing relationship between the two variables. This can help us understand generally, with a higher percentage of English learners enrolled, there is a smaller per-pupil spending. Also from the chart, we gain a sense of where the majority of blue dots fall. This can help us understand that most districts have an enrollment percentage of English language learners from 0 percent to 10 percent and it is clear that most per-pupil spending ranges from $12,000 to $25,000. The chart can help prove that Enlgish learners, students who need greater attention and resources, are recieving a smaller amount of funding.

Figure 1: Explore the scatterplot chart , comparing English language learner percentage enrollemnet to per pupil spendings by district from SYE 2021-2022.

For this research story, I had used the official site for Connecticut's educational information to find the data I was looking for. When researching data and creating maps, there are always steps needed to get to the correct information. It is unlikely to be presented with the exact numbers and facts you are looking for. The table given by the site had included a lot of unneeded information so I had to clean up the data to get exactly what I was looking for. With this, there is also uncertainty in the process. For the first question I researched there wasn't information for each of the six school types in every town. This means some data is left out of certain towns in the column chart. The readers of this data need to be aware that with the lack of a data point, a group may be larger in percentage on a scale compared to the towns with all six school types. While I tried my best to include towns having as much data as possible, there isn't a perfect solution. From the websites, some categories did not include a piece of data. For the second chart I created, there may be a missing blue dot due to lack of data and this could have an effect on the trend. It is important to keep in mind that missing points do not provide the most accurate shape of the scatter plot chart. However, all this data put into the charts I created, still hold a purpose of providing a general trend and evidence to help answer questions on English language learners.