Ilana Umansky

Profile picture of Ilana Umansky
Assistant Professor
College of Education, Education Policy and Leadership, Educational Leadership, Quantitative Research Methods in Education, Sociology
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, emerging bilingual students, and students classified in school as English learners (ELs). She studies key EL policies including identification, service provision, and reclassification, focusing on issues of stratification and opportunity. Her work has explored EL course-taking and access to core academic content, the effects of the EL classification system, teacher perceptions of EL-classified students, and how educational outcomes vary for students in different linguistic instructional environments. She often works in partnership with districts and states including projects with San Francisco Unified, Salem-Keizer School District, the Utah State Board of Education, the Oregon Department of Education, and the Council of Chief State School Officers, as they work to improve educational opportunities for their EL students. Prior to getting her Ph.D. at Stanford University in Sociology of Education and Race, Inequality and Language in Education, Umansky worked in educational equity and quality research 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 Journal, Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Educational Leadership, 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., 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. DOI: 10.3102/0002831221997571. 
Umansky, I., Poza, L., Flores Gutierrez, M.* (2021). “It’s kind of a sentencing”: Educator perceptions of English learners’ constricting opportunities across grade levels. International Multilingual Research Journal, DOI: 10.1080/19313152.2021.1883794.

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.

Umansky, I., Poza, L., Flores Gutierrez, M. (In press). “It’s kind of a sentencing”: Educator perceptions of English learners’ constricting opportunities across grade levels. International Multilingual Research Journal.

Umansky, I., Dumont, H. (In press). 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.



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