English Learners In LAUSD Mark Big Gains

LOS ANGELES (June 8, 2012) - The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) proudly announced today that proficiency rates are increasing for English learners. These outstanding results, as shown by the California English Language Development Test (CELDT), led to the District reclassifying students as fluent in English at the highest rate since the test was first issued in the 2002-03 school year.

Overall, 15.6% of students in grades one through 12 had language and academic skills that allowed them to be determined fluent in English, compared to 12.4% from a year earlier. In the District, students at all school levels recorded increases in reclassification rates but the sharpest gains came from those in elementary school, the test results show.

The increase of 3.2 percentage points is significant, considering this school year the District adopted a new policy, which only allowed reclassification to occur in grades two to 12. Previously, ELs could reclassify as early as first grade. In 2011 the reclassification rate for grades two to 12 was 15.1%. The rate increased to 20.5% in 2012, resulting in an increase of 5.4 percentage points.

English Learners have shown steady progress every year. In LAUSD, about 25% of those with less than five years of language instruction were proficient on the test, exceeding the state target of 20.1%.

”This tremendous accomplishment is the result of all the hard work and effort that this District has committed to improving the skills of the English Learner students,” said LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy. “I am extremely proud of the teachers, administrators, staff and students who made this happen.”

Board President Mónica García added: “We celebrate progress and achievement for English Learners and have high expectations that the revised master plan will continue to benefit students and their journey towards graduation. We appreciate the focus and attention to teaching and learning for all our students.”

Students in the LAUSD are demonstrating increased proficiency in the English language. In the 2011-12 school year, the percentage of ELs that scored at Early Advanced or Advanced increased from the previous year across the entire district, from 34% to 39%.

This good news coincides with the District’s English Learners and Standards English Learners master plan that was recently presented to the Board of Education members on March 27. This extensive 200-page master plan details the District’s commitment to reduce English learners and to ensure all English learners attain optimal linguistic and academic success.

The plan describes how ELs are identified; explains the different program options available; defines how students become proficient in English and outlines full access to a challenging curriculum. The plan further details a system that will be in place to monitor EL progress from identification to Fluent English Proficiency.

Furthermore, English Learners will be evaluated using appropriate and valid assessments that take into account language development stages and cultural backgrounds.