By Shelby Sebens | Northwest Watchdog
PORTLAND – Oregon school officials are calling for major reforms to the state’s English Language Development programs, which provide education to students learning the English language.
The call for reforms comes on the heels of a report announced Monday that revealed the state’s English language learners failed to make federal targets for moving up and succeeding in the program.
“The results are clear; we need to change direction and change how we do business at every level to ensure our English Language Learners are receiving the instruction, support, and opportunities they need and deserve,” Deputy Superintendent Rob Saxton said in a press release. “This year we saw the results for our ELL students moving in the wrong direction and that is simply unacceptable. As we work to redesign our state’s education system around common goals and rigorous outcomes, improving services and supports to our English Language Learners will be a critical piece in the equation. Continuing down our current path is not an option.”
Oregon tracks the progress ELD programs are making toward meeting three federal targets: progression in English language acquisition, exiting or obtaining proficiency in English, and meeting Annual Measurable Objectives. Here are the results for 2011-12, according to data from the Oregon Department of Education:
Progressing in English language acquisition
Did at least 57 percent of ELL students in Oregon move up by one level of English proficiency?
No, the percentage of Oregon’s ELL students moving up by one level of English proficiency was 50.2 percent, the same as last year.
Exiting or reaching English language proficiency
Did at least 17 percent of all ELL students in Oregon reach proficiency and exit the program?
No, the percentage of Oregon’s ELL students reaching proficiency and exiting the program was 16 percent down from 16.6 percent last year. However, the percent reaching proficiency has gone up substantially in past years and is still well above the 10.8 percent reaching proficiency in 2008-09.
Did at least 26.5 percent of Oregon’s ELL students identified for five years or more reach proficiency and exit the program?
Yes, the percentage of Oregon’s year five ELL students reaching proficiency and exiting the program was 31.6 percent, down from 32.2 percent last year but still above the target. This is up from 18.2 percent in 2008-09.
ELL Annual Measurable Objectives
Did Oregon’s school districts make Annual Measurable Objectives (AMO) for ELL students?
Eleven of Oregon’s school districts made Annual Measurable Objectives for their participating ELL students. Sixty-two of Oregon’s school districts did not meet AMOs for this subgroup. Sixty districts were not rated for this target due to an insufficient number of ELL students. Sixty-four districts had no ELL students in the 2011-12 school year.