Profile picture of Ilana Umansky

Ilana Umansky

Associate Professor
College of Education, Education Policy and Leadership, Quantitative Research Methods in Education
Phone: 541-346-5244
Office: 102Q Lokey Education Bldg
Research Interests: Sociology of education, education policy, language and education, immigration and education, labeling, academic tracking, quantitative and longitudinal methods


Ilana Umansky's work focuses on quantitative and longitudinal analysis of the educational opportunities and outcomes of immigrant students, multilingual students, and students classified in school as English learners (ELs). She studies key education policies including EL identification, service provision, and reclassification, focusing on issues of stratification and opportunity. Her work has explored course-taking and access to core academic content, the effects of the EL classification system, teacher perceptions of EL-classified students, bilingual education, and policies relevant to specific groups of multilingual students such as newcomer students and adolescent EL-classified students. In recent projects, she has focused on EL identification and services for American Indian and Alaska Native students, as well as how education policies in Oaxaca, Mexico shape the experiences and opportunities of transnational students. She currently acts as co-PI for a national Research and Development Center focused on secondary-school aged multilingual students. Umansky often works in partnership with districts and states including projects with San Francisco Unified, the Michigan and Oregon state departments of education, and the Council of Chief State School Officers, as they work to improve educational opportunities for multilingual students. Prior to getting her Ph.D. at Stanford University in Sociology of Education and Race, Inequality and Language in Education, Umansky worked with the World Bank and other organizations on collaborative educational efforts in Nicaragua, Mexico, Colombia, El Salvador, and other countries in Latin America. Her work has been awarded by the National Academy of Education, the Spencer Foundation, the Jacobs Foundation, the Fulbright Foundation, and the American Educational Research Association's Bilingual Education Special Interest Group. Her work has been published in the American Educational Research JournalJournal of Research on Educational EffectivenessEducational Evaluation and Policy AnalysisEducational Policy, and Exceptional Children, among other outlets. She frequently also publishes national and state reports and policy briefs aimed at serving and informing educational policymakers.


Ph.D., 2015, Stanford University
Major: Sociology of Education and Race, Inequality, & Language in Education Program
M.A., 2013, Stanford University
Major: Sociology
MEd, 2003, Harvard University
Major: International Education Policy
BA, 1998, Wesleyan University
Major: Sociology

Honors and Awards

2020 National Academy of Education / Spencer Foundation, Postdoctoral Fellowship

2019 National Academy of Education / Spencer Foundation, Research Development Award

2017 Jacobs Foundation Young Scholars Fellowship

2015-17 ELL Working Group Policy Fellowship

2015 AERA Bilingual Education Research Special Interest Group, Outstanding Dissertation Award

2010-14 Quantitative Education Policy Analysis Fellowship, Stanford University

1999 Fulbright Fellowship, United States Government


Umansky, I., Vazquez Cano, M., Porter, L. (2023). Perpetuation of linguistic imposition or resource for self-determination: Examining the estimated impact of English learner classification among Alaska Native students. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis

Umansky, I., Itoh, T., Carjuzaa, J. (2023). Indigenous students and English learner identification: A fifty state policy review. Educational Policy

Umansky, I., Thompson, K., Soland, J., Kibler, A. (2022). Understanding newcomer students’ English language proficiency development: Comparisons and predictors. Bilingual Research Journal, 45(2), 180-204. 
Umansky, I., Avelar, J. (2022). Canaried in the coalmine: What students considered long-term English learners can teach us about the pitfalls of current English learner education…and what we can do about it. Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk, 1-26. DOI: 10.1080/10824669.2022.2123326 
Thompson, K., Umansky, I., Rew, J. (2022). Improving understanding of English learner education through an expanded analytic framework. Educational Policy. DOI: 10.1177/08959048221087214
Hopkins, M., Weddle, H., Bjocklund, P., Umansky, I., Dabach, D. (2021). It’s created by a community”: Local context mediating districts’ approaches to serving immigrant newcomers. AERA Open. DOI: 10.1177/23328584211032234.

Umansky, I., Porter, L., Pierson, A., Moreno, E. (2021). Alaska Native students as English learners: Examining patterns in identification, service provision, and reclassification (REL 2021-088). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education. 

Vazquez Cano, M., Umansky, I., Thompson, K. (2021). How state, district, and school levers can improve the course access of students classified as English learners in secondary schools. National Research and Development Center to Improve Education for Secondary English Learners.

Umansky, I., Dumont, H. (2021). English learner labeling: How English learner classification in kindergarten shapes teacher perceptions of student skills and the moderating role of bilingual instructional settings. American Educational Research Journal, 58(5), 993-1031.

Umansky, I., Poza, L., Flores Gutierrez, M. (2021). “A sentencing”: Veteran educators’ perceptions of a constriction of English learner students’ opportunities across grade levels. International Multilingual Research Journal, 15(3), 267-291.

Umansky, I., Callahan, R., Lee, J. (2020). Making the invisible visible: Identifying and interrogating the Latinx-Chinese English learner reclassification gap. American Journal of Education126(3): 335-388. 

Umansky, I., Hopkins, M., Dabach, D. (2020). Between a rock and a hard place: Navigating integrated and separated programming for immigrant newcomers. Leadership and Policy in Schools19(1): 36-59.

Thompson, K., Umansky, I., Porter, L. (2020). Recently-arrived immigrant students: Examining distribution and contexts of reception. Leadership and Policy in Schools19(1): 10-35.

Umansky, I., Porter, L. (2020). A framework for state English learner education policy: A conceptualization of policy areas and review of the literature. Education Policy Analysis Archives28(17).

Santibañez, L., Umansky, I. (2018). English learners: Charting their experiences and mapping their futures in California Schools. Policy brief for Getting Down to Facts II project. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University. 

Umansky, I. (2018). According to plan?: Examining the intended and unintended treatment effects of EL classification in early elementary and the transition to middle school. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 11(4), 588-621.

Umansky, I. (2018). State policies to advance English learners’ experiences and outcomes in California’s schools. Technical report for Getting Down to Facts II project. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University.    

Umansky, I., Hopkins, M., Dabach, D., Porter, L., Thompson, K., Pompa, D. (2018). Understanding and supporting the educational needs of recently-arrived immigrant English learner students: Lessons for state and local education agencies. Washington, DC: Council of Chief State School Officers.

Umansky, I., Thompson, K., Díaz, G. (2017). Using an ever-EL framework to examine special education disproportionality among English learner students. Exceptional Children, 84(1), 76-96.

Pallais, D., Umansky, I., (2017) Nicaraguan English learner students. In J. Egbert and G. Ernst-Slavit (Ed.s), Views from inside: Languages, cultures, and schooling for K-12 Educators. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishers.

Umansky, I., (2016). Leveled and exclusionary tracking: English learners’ access to core content in middle school. American Educational Research Journal, 53(6), 1792-1833.

Umansky, I., (2016). To be or not to be EL: An examination of the impact of classifying students as English learners. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 38(4), 714-737.

Umansky, I., Valentino, R., Reardon, S. (2016). The promise of two language education. Educational Leadership, 73(5), 10-17.

Robinson-Cimpian, J., Thompson, K., Umansky, I. (2016). Research and policy considerations for English learner equity. Policy Insights from Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 3(1), 129-137.

Umansky, I., Reardon, S., Hakuta, K., Thompson, K., Estrada, P., Hayes, K., Maldonado, H., Tandberg, S., Goldenberg, C. (2015). Improving the opportunities and outcomes of students learning English: Findings from three school district – university collaborative partnerships (Policy Brief No. 15-1). Palo Alto, CA: Policy Analysis for California Education.

Umansky, I., Reardon, S. (2014). Reclassification patterns among Latino English learner students in bilingual, dual immersion, and English immersion classrooms. American Educational Research Journal, 51(5), 879–912.  

Umansky, I., Vegas, E. (2007). Inside decentralization: How three Central American school-based management reforms affect student learning through teacher incentives. World Bank Research Observer 22(2): 197-215.



Current Research Funding:

2018-2021 Regional Education Laboratory - Northwest: Alaska Native students as English learners: Examining patterns in identification, service provision, and reclassification

2020-2021 National Academy of Education / Spencer Foundation Postdoc: A Statewide Examination of English Learners' Access to English Language Arts: Effects of, and Solutions to, Conscribed Access (Role: PI)

2020-2022 IES Goal I: Exploring Trend and Heterogeneity in the Timing and Effects of English Learner Reclassification (Role: Co-PI)

2020-2025 IES Research Center: National Research and Development Center to Improve Education for Secondary English Learners (Role: Co-PI)


Research Interests:

Multilingual, English Learner, and emergent bilingual students; Sociology of education; Education policy; Quasi-experimental and longitudinal data analysis; Immigration; Educational stratification; Educational equity