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Crystal Greene, 503-947-5650

October 1, 2012

State Report Reaffirms Need for Change in ELL Instruction

Oregon school districts struggle to meet federal targets for students learning English

(Salem, Ore.) – Today, Deputy Superintendent Rob Saxton announced the release of the Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives (AMAO) report for the 2011-12 school year. This report describes the progress that Oregon school districts are making in teaching English to English Language Learners (ELL) and is required under the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The Oregon Department of Education tracks the progress districts are making toward meeting federal targets. This year’s results reveal real challenges with fewer students making the needed gains to reach proficiency and exit the programs.

“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,” said Deputy Superintendent Rob Saxton. “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.”

The goal of English Language Development (ELD) programs is to provide English Language Learners with the instruction and support they need to gain academic proficiency in English within 5 years. All ELL students in Oregon are required to take the state’s English Language Proficiency Assessment (ELPA) each year, and the results of the test are used to track student’s progress toward proficiency. Since Oregon identifies five levels of language proficiency from beginning to advanced, students are expected to progress about one level a year if they are to remain on track to exit the program within 5 years. 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 (formerly Adequate Year Progress or AYP). These targets increase each year and the 2011-12 results are provided below.

AMAO Target #1 – Progressing in English language acquisition

Did at least 57% 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%, the same as last year.

AMAO Target #2 – Exiting or reaching English language proficiency

2A: Did at least 17% 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%, down from 16.6% last year. However, the percent reaching proficiency has gone up substantially in past years and is still well above the 10.8% reaching proficiency in 2008-09.

2B: Did at least 26.5% 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%, down from 32.2% last year but still above the target. This is up from 18.2% in 2008-09.

AMAO Target 3# – 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.

Click here PDF for statewide district totals.

“We face a huge challenge here, but we also have an incredible opportunity,” said Deputy Superintendent Saxton. “We know that our current system isn’t providing us with the outcomes our students deserve, so we are redesigning our system to better meet the needs of our kids. Our state’s federal No Child Left Behind flexibility waiver allows us to build a system that can produce the outcomes we need, and the strong leadership and unity of focus provided by our Governor and Chief Education Office will help ensure that our state makes the changes necessary to turn things around.”

Oregon is serving as the lead state in a thirteen state consortia which was recently awarded a $6.3 million dollar grant to update and improve the English Language Proficiency Assessment. The new assessment, known as ELPA21, is one of the components of Oregon’s education redesign which will ensure ELL students throughout Oregon are achieving at the highest levels possible and are college- and career-ready when they leave our schools.

Just under 10% of Oregon’s students are non-native English speakers receiving English Language Development services. The most common first language for these students is Spanish, followed by Russian, Vietnamese, and Chinese. Over 150 languages are spoken by Oregon students and their families. For more information on language diversity in Oregon, see the Annual State Report Card.


For an audio clip of Deputy Superintendent Saxton, go to: http://video.orvsd.org/ode/AMAO.MP3.

For an FAQ on AMAOs, go to: http://www.ode.state.or.us/wma/superintendent/release/amao-faq-11-12.pdf PDF.

For the 2010-11 AMAO report and additional details, go to: http://www.ode.state.or.us/search/page/?id=3408.

For information on Oregon’s ELPA, go to: http://www.ode.state.or.us/search/page/?id=1224.


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Rob Saxton, Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction
Crystal Greene, ODE Communications , (503) 947-5650
http://www.ode.state.or.us


Oregon Department of Education News Releases contain information that was originally released to the press as an official release.  Refer to each News Release for the details.
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