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Crystal Greene, 503-947-5650

November 1, 2011

Record Number of English Language Learners Reach Proficiency

State Issues Progress Report for Students Learning English in Oregon Schools

(Salem, Ore.) – Today State Schools Superintendent Susan Castillo announced the release of the Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives (AMAO) report for the 2010-11 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 (formerly known as No Child Left Behind). All ELL students in Oregon are required to take the state’s English Language Proficiency Assessment (ELPA) each year, and the results of this test are used to track student’s progress toward proficiency in English.

“In the last decade, the language diversity of our state has changed immensely,” said State Schools Superintendent Susan Castillo. “Ten years ago, there were about 44,000 Oregon students who were enrolled in English Language Development programs. This past year, that number was 65,618—a 48% increase in the number of our students needing these services. As our students' needs have changed, our schools have had to retool and refocus, really honing in on what strategies work best to provide all of our kids with the language skills they need to be successful. And that hard work is paying off with record numbers of students reaching proficiency this year.”

This past year, 10,379 Oregon students reached full academic proficiency in English and exited English Language Development programs. This is the largest number of students to reach proficiency in a single year, up almost 400 students from the 2009-10 school year and more than double the number of students who exited these programs in the 2007-08 school year. Oregon districts have steadily increased the number of students progressing through and exiting these programs, indicating that teachers and schools are doing a better job of providing students with the instructions and supports they need to gain proficiency in English.

The goal of English Language Development programs is to provide English Language Learners with the instruction and support they need to gain academic proficiency in English within 5 years. These programs are designed to help students gain skills in speaking, listening, reading, and writing English. To support districts in reaching that goal and meeting the challenges of a growing ELL population, the Oregon Department of Education offers professional development and guidance to help improve systems and outcomes. ODE has also improved state-level systems to provide greater clarity and better information about where students are on their path toward proficiency.

“I am very proud of the progress our schools and teachers are making in this area,” said Castillo. “As we work to implement the Oregon Diploma requirements and the increased rigor of new state standards, we need to make sure our schools and districts have the support systems in place to get all of our students to this higher level—and a big piece of that is ensuring that all of our students gain the academic English skills they will need to succeed in school and beyond. While we are not yet where we need to be, it is clear that years of state and district collaboration are resulting in better services, instruction, and outcomes for our kids.”

Statewide 2010-11 AMAO Ratings
Each year, the Oregon Department of Education tracks the progress English Language Development programs are making toward three federal targets.

AMAO Target #1 – Progressing in English language acquisition

Did at least 53% 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%.

AMAO Target #2 – Exiting or reaching English language proficiency

2A: Did at least 15.5% of all ELL students in Oregon reach proficiency and exit the program?
Yes, the percentage of Oregon’s ELL students reaching proficiency and exiting the program was 16.6%. This is up from 15.3% in 2009-10 and 10.8% in 2008-09.

2B: Did at least 24% 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 32.2%. This is up from 26.7% in 2009-10 and 18.2% in 2008-09.

AMAO Target 3# – ELL Adequate Yearly Progress

Did Oregon’s school districts make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for ELL students?
Twenty-three of Oregon’s school districts made Adequate Yearly Progress for their participating ELL students. Fifty-two of Oregon’s school districts did not meet AYP for this subgroup. Fifty-one of Oregon’s school districts were not rated for this target due to insufficient numbers of ELL students.

Click here PDF for statewide district totals.

“With the increase in federal AYP targets, many Oregon students, including many English Language Learners, did not meet the new expectations this year and that impacted the results we are releasing today,” said Castillo. “However, we know that progress is being made and students are learning at increased rates. As we move forward with our state’s AYP waiver proposal, our focus will be on designing a home-grown accountability system that better reflects the true progress and growth of all Oregon students.”

About 11.5% 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, Chinese, and Somali. 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 PDF.

For an FAQ on AMAOs, go to:http://www.ode.state.or.us/wma/superintendent/release/amao-faq-10-11.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

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

Susan Castillo, State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Christine Miles, 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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