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Susanne Smith, 503-947-5637

December 14, 2010

Record Gains for English Proficiency Within 5 Years

State Issues Progress Report on English Language Proficiency in Oregon Schools

SALEM – State Schools Superintendent Susan Castillo announced today the release of the Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives (AMAO) PDF report for the 2009-2010 school year as required under the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (formerly known as No Child Left Behind). The report shows the progress that Oregon school districts are making in teaching English to English Language Learners (ELL), based on test scores from the state’s English Language Proficiency Assessment (ELPA).

“Our state is making steady progress toward ensuring all English Language Learners become academically proficient in English within five years,” said Superintendent Castillo. “However, results today indicate we have a long way to go before every English learner is acquiring language skills at the rate needed to thrive academically. As our state continues to cut K-12 funding, we must not lose sight of the fact that demand for specialized services like English language development is at an all-time high.”

In the 1997-98 school year, the estimated number of students for whom English was not the primary language and who needed English Language Development (ELD) services was 13,425. In 2009-10, that number was 65,398. The number of students identified as needing ELD services has increased 32% per year.

Statewide 2009-10 AMAO Ratings

AMAO Target #1 -- Did at least 50% 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 is 49.5%.

AMAO Target #2A -- Did at least 14% of all ELL students in Oregon reach proficiency and exit the program?
Yes, the percentage of all Oregon’s ELL students reaching proficiency and exiting the program is 15.3%. This is up from 10.8% in 2008-09 and 7.8% in 2007-08.

AMAO Target #2B -- Did at least 22% 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 is 26.7%. This is up from 18.2% in 2008-09 and 16.3% in 2007-08.

AMAO Target 3# -- Did the state of Oregon make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for ELL students?
No, the state of Oregon did not make AYP for ELL students.

Click here MS-Word for statewide district totals.

State and federal funds are designated for programs designed to help students gain skills in speaking, listening, reading, and writing English. Last year, there were 65,398 limited English proficiency students in Oregon eligible for English Language Development (ELD) programs. Of those eligible, 61,853 Oregon students chose to enroll in ELD programs last year. Oregon state law provides districts with an average of about $2,700 in State School Funds for each ELL student each year. The federal government provides about $135 per student in supplemental funding to school districts each year.

Multi-faceted Data-driven Approach

To help districts meet the challenges of a growing ELL population, the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) has restructured and aligned systems of accountability and district support. Many factors help explain why Oregon’s ELL students are reaching proficiency at increasing rates. At the state level, these factors include, but are not limited to:
• Development of a uniform set of learning expectations for all ELL students – Oregon’s English Language Proficiency (ELP) standards
• Adoption of instructional materials in 2007 aligned to ELP standards
• One statewide test to measure student English proficiency that is aligned to Oregon ELP standards—Oregon’s English Language Proficiency Assessment (ELPA) - instituted in 2006-07
• Professional Development on effective instructional methodologies with ELL students provided by ODE in 2005 through 2007
• Continued technical support for school districts provided by ODE through annual Title III meetings, district visits, and daily communication.

Over the past four years, the ODE has implemented a multi-faceted data-driven approach toward accountability and support for school district ELL programs. The agency’s mission is to provide greater clarity of ELL student progression through the program and more detailed data regarding length of time in the program to better inform district decision making. The state has increased learning expectations and delivered standards that are aligned to ELL instructional materials while providing professional development and guidance to make it easier for schools to deliver improved results for their students.

As Oregon City ELL program coordinator Ginger Redlinger states, “By providing a framework at the state level, the Oregon Department of Education is making it easier for our administrators and teachers to determine how well our program is working and where we should be focusing our interventions.”

Gervais School District: A State Leader in English Language Development

Gervais School District stands out this year as a state leader having met all three federal objectives for ELL students for 2009-10. Fifty-two percent of Gervais School District ELL students moved up one proficiency level. The total number of ELLs gaining proficiency was above the statewide average at 19% and the percentage of five-year students gaining proficiency was well above the statewide average at 36%. The District also has the distinction of meeting Adequate Yearly Progress for their ELL students.

Approximately 50% of elementary school students in Gervais are ELL students and the total average ELL population is about 38%. Twenty-nine percent of ELL students in the District have been there less than 3 years. Eighty-one percent of students in Gervais are economically disadvantaged.

Gervais has a laser-like focus on ensuring all ELL students attain English proficiency as they progress in the core academic content areas. To help support this goal, the District utilizes a 21st Century grant to provide educational and enrichment activities for students and their families. They offer Thursday night classes at the school including: English, Russian, Computers, GED, and healthy cooking. Gervais understands that health is critical to learning and participates in the Farm-to-School food program where local farmers drop off produce at the schools each week.

The District is methodical about student scheduling and service placement of students. All teachers district-wide are trained and mentored in research-based ELL instructional techniques. Regular classroom teachers understand the philosophy and goals of the English Language Development program to better understand the different proficiency levels of students. They work closely with ELD coaches and teachers to target and differentiate appropriate instruction for each student.

For an audio clip of Susan Castillo, please visit http://video.orvsd.org/ode/AMAO.MP3

For an FAQ on AMAOs, please visit: http://www.ode.state.or.us/wma/superintendent/release/amao-faq.pdf PDF.

For the 2009-10 AMAO report and additional details, please visit: http://www.ode.state.or.us/search/page/?id=2593.

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

For information on Oregon’s English Language Proficiency Standards, please visit http://www.ode.state.or.us/search/results/?id=36.

Susan Castillo, State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Susanne Smith, Communications Director, Telephone (503) 947-5637

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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