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Uplifting Higher Expectations and Data Transparency for English Learners in the State Accountability System

On February 9, 2024 four Californians Together advocates testified before the CPAG providing recommendations to improve the current and future data dashboard and accountability system.  The four areas that were addressed by Patty Chavez (SEAL), Sally Fox (CABE), and Ruth Barajas and Shelly Spiegel Coleman from Californians Together were:

  • The Need to Disaggregate English Learner-only and Reclassified Fluent English Proficient (RFEP) students for the Academic Indicators: For English Language Arts there are more districts than the previous years that are scoring at the lowest performance level (red) on the Dashboard. The aggregate of one year of English learner and four years of RFEP data identifies 255 districts constituting approximately 39 percent of eligible districts but when disaggregating for English learners only, 427 districts are identified as red. That is 71 percent of districts having a red performance level for their current English learners only and 11 districts or two percent for their RFEPs. In the name of transparency and high expectations, we urged the State Board of Education to consider disaggregating the two student groups for the 2024 Dashboard and to consider the same when designing  the upcoming Growth Model.
  • The Need for ELPI (English Learner Progress Indicator) to set equity-focused goals: Just 60 districts received a red rating on the ELPI this year—which equates to one district per county. What is more concerning is that these 60 districts only enroll 33,598 English learners–just 3 percent of the state’s English learner population. We suggested that the State Board of Education schedule a session to review the cut scores for “status” that creates a very low level of expectation and aspiration toward English language development progress.
  • Incorporate the English Learner Roadmap Policy in the differentiated assistance process: Only 152 districts qualify for differentiated assistance based on English learner performance. Of that number only 28 districts were red for ELPI qualifying for differentiated assistance, enrolling just 12,035 English learners. The principles of the English Learner Roadmap policy address all aspects of the education of ELs and would provide targeted guidance for improvement. For those districts that will be eligible for DA based on English learner outcomes, we recommend the System of Support incorporate the English Learner Roadmap policy as a framework for identifying the root cause and plan for continuous improvement.

    ●  Ensure that LEAs Address the Needs of Current Long-term English Learners (LTELs): We appreciate that LTELs will be a separate numerically significant group from the total English learner student group for the indicators on the Data Dashboard. We suggest that the state recommend that after identifying the LTEL group, districts use the current state definition of six years plus not progressing on ELPAC to define the actual needs of the group and look at the cohort of students at risk of becoming LTELs for goals, actions and services on the LCAPs.

The CPAG members do not vote on any items, but they do make recommendations to the State Board of Education. We will be addressing these and other accountability items before the State Board of Education on March 6, 2024.  

Please email Cristal Zeas at [email protected] if you are willing to testify with us. We need all of our voices to be heard.

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