Arizona Sees Rise in Percentage of ELLs Testing Fluent in English

By Mary Ann Zehr — June 23, 2009 1 min read
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In two years, Arizona has more than doubled the rate of English-language learners that it reclassifies as fluent in the language, according to an article published today in the Arizona Republic.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne put out a press release this week saying the jump in the reclassification rate is a result of the state’s new program for ELLs. In the new program, English-language learners receive four hours of English skills a day. The press release said Arizona reclassified 28.6 percent* of the state’s 143,225 ELLs as fluent in English this school year, up from 12 percent two years ago.

All school districts were required to implement the four-hour program this past school year, though some had begun the process the previous school year.

In Arizona, students must pass the state’s English-language-proficiency test to be reclassified as fluent in the language.

The real test of whether students who are reclassified are indeed competent in the language will be if they fare well in mainstream classes over the long haul, some educators told the Arizona Republic.

*I updated this figure after clarifying a discrepancy in the press release.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.