Florida's English language learners move toward language proficiency
When they first arrive in the country, children who don't speak English aren't required to take the usual battery of Florida's standardized tests.
Rather, they sit for assessments to gauge their English proficiency after time spent learning the language. They take ACCESS for ELLs, which replaced the Comprehensive English Language Learning Assessment.
The Florida Department of Education has released the latest results for 259,414 children who took that exam, which measures their listening, reading, writing and speaking skills. Overall, 43,425 students -- or 17 percent -- were deemed proficient in all areas, with the highest levels of proficiency coming in the fourth and fifth grades.
Locally, the proficiency rates are slightly higher than those statewide: Hernando 25 percent, Hillsborough 20 percent, Pasco 20 percent and Pinellas 22 percent.
"This information provides a basis to inform instructional practice so that our ELLs meet the same rigorous standards as all students in Florida schools," chancellor Hershel Lyons wrote to superintendents.