THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT / THE UNIVERSITY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK / ALBANY, NY 12234

 

TO:

EMSC-VESID Committee

FROM:

Jean C. Stevens

 

SUBJECT:

Closing the Achievement Gap:  Strategies to Improve the Performance of LEP/ELL Students

DATE:

December 19, 2006

STRATEGIC GOAL:

Goals 1 and 2

AUTHORIZATION(S):

 

SUMMARY

 

Issue for Discussion

 

Are there additional strategies that staff should implement to improve the performance of Limited English Proficient/English Language Learners (LEP/ELL) students?

 

Reason(s) for Consideration

         
          Review of Policy.    

 

Proposed Handling

 

This question will come before the Regents EMSC-VESID Committee for discussion on January 8, 2007.  Although this report was submitted to the Regents in December, the Committee was unable to discuss it due to time constraints.

 

Procedural History

 

The Board of Regents and the Department are committed to raising the academic achievement of all students and closing the gap in student academic performance.  Building the capacity of schools to strengthen educational services for LEP/ELL students is critical in reducing the gap.  To this end, the Regents and the Department adopted a policy on the performance of LEP/ELL students.  Periodic reports are presented to the Regents on implementation of this policy.  The last comprehensive report was submitted in March 2005.  Action step 3 of the P-16 reform strategy calls for improving outcomes for LEP/ELL students by setting performance targets, promoting effective practices, and holding schools accountable for dramatic improvements.  The second-year data on the newly developed and improved NYSESLAT is being used by staff to set performance targets in accordance with the federal Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives (AMAO).  This data permits the Department to set realistic targets to which schools will be accountable.

 

Background Information

 

In October 2004, 10 strategies were identified to improve the performance of LEP/ELL students.  The Department was asked to develop an implementation plan and to report periodically on the progress in implementing the 10 strategies. This report will provide an update on how the fourth strategy is being implemented.  This strategy refers to the organization and dissemination of New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test (NYSESLAT) data and the results of the NYSESLAT that was administered in May 2006 and a summary of the four action steps that will help districts improve those results.

             

Attachment A provides an analysis of the performance of LEP/ELL students on the NYSESLAT.  The Department is developing a consistent measurement tool (second year of a five-year development plan) to assess the performance of LEP/ELL students.  This assessment has enabled the Office of Bilingual Education and Foreign Language Studies to begin to analyze the performance of schools that provide instruction to LEP/ELL students.  As the individual student record system is implemented, it will provide additional and more refined data on which to base recommendations for effective programs for the education of LEP/ELL students.

 

Attachment B provides a description of the steps the Department has taken to make sure that the data are used by teachers and administrators to inform classroom practice and to identify high-and low-performing programs.  In order to focus the work of the Office of Bilingual Education and Foreign Language Studies, four key elements have been identified to assist districts to improve the performance of LEP/ELL students.

 

Attachment C is the complete listing of the Board of Regents strategies adopted in September 2004 to improve LEP/ELL performance.

 

Recommendation

 

Staff recommend that the Board of Regents review the data and strategies and provide direction to staff on changes to implementation of these strategies.  Staff will  analyze this data and submit to the Board of Regents at a future meeting revised AMAOs for review and approval.  We will also present follow-up information and data on the status and effectiveness of the 10 strategies, the results of New Yorkís Title III Peer Review conducted by USDOE, and the advice from the LEP/ELL Committee of Practitioners.

 

Timetable for Implementation

 

Not applicable.


 

Attachment A

 

Summary of 2006 New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test (NYSESLAT) Operational Test Results

(Preliminary Statewide Results)

 

The NYSESLAT operational test was administered in Spring 2006 to 192,425 LEP/ELL students in 3,384 public schools and 527 districts across New York State. Nonpublic school NYSESLAT data is not available for analysis at this point. Of 192,425 public school NYSESLAT test takers, complete NYSESLAT scores from all four modalities (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) were obtained from 189,461 (98.5%) LEP/ELL students. The results are summarized in this report.

 

1)         Description of the 2006 ELL Population

 

Table 1:  Distribution of 2006 LEP/ELL Students by Grade Level 

Grade

Number

Percent

K

24,102

12.5

1

25,632

13.3

2

23,046

12.0

3

18,860

9.8

4

14,896

7.7

5

13,227

6.9

6

10,925

5.7

7

12,111

6.3

8

12,118

6.3

9

14,148

7.4

10

12,659

6.6

11

6,808

3.5

12

2,667

1.4

Ungraded K-6

818

0.4

Ungraded 7-12

277

0.1

Unspecified

131

0.1

State Total:

192,425

100.0

 

Table 2:  Distribution of LEP/ELL Students by Need/Resource Category

Need/Resource Category

Number

Percent

New York City

134,300

69.8

Big 4 Cities

10,160

5.3

High Need Urban/Suburban

19,671

10.2

High Need Rural

1,218

0.6

Average Need

17,562

9.1

Low Need

9,003

4.7

Charter Schools

511

0.3

Total:

192,425

100.0

 

 

Table 3:  Distribution of LEP/ELL Students by Number of Years of Service

 

 

 

Year of Service

Number

Percent

0

11,285

5.9

1

40,617

21.1

2

33,009

17.2

3

26,369

13.7

4

18,749

9.7

5

11,806

6.1

6

9,203

4.8

7

4,231

2.2

8

3,067

1.6

9

2,261

1.2

Unspecified

31,828

16.5

Total

192,425

100.0

 

Table 4:  Distribution of LEP/ELL Students by Home Language
Spoken by 1,000 or More LEP/ELL Students

 

(N = 192,425)

 

 

 

 

Home Language

Number

Percent

Spanish

113,062

58.8

English

11,994

6.2

Chinese

4,178

2.2

Bengali

3,787

2.0

Arabic

3,585

1.9

Russian

3,377

1.8

Haitian Creole

3,286

1.7

Korean

2,021

1.1

French

1,591

0.8

Albanian

1,423

0.7

Polish

1,308

0.7

Punjabi

1,101

0.6

 

The 2006 LEP/ELL student population reported over 160 home languages.  Table 4 shows only those home languages reported by 1,000 LEP/ELL students or more. The rest of the languages were reported by less than 1,000 students.

 

2) English Proficiency Levels

 

NYSESLAT yields four raw scores for each of the four modalities as well as two scale scores for the two modality combinations: Listening and Speaking (L/S); and Reading and Writing (R/W). LEP/ELL students receive two designations of proficiency levels for L/S and R/W respectively based on their scale scores on the two modality combinations.  LEP/ELL studentsí overall proficiency level is determined by the lower of the two proficiency levels. For example, if a student scored Proficient on L/S and Advanced on R/W, the studentís overall proficiency level is Advanced Level not Proficient Level. The distributions of LEP/ELL students scoring at each of the four proficiency levels by grade level in L/S, R/W, and overall proficiency level are summarized in the following three tables.

 

 

  Table 5:  Distribution of LEP/ELL Students by Listening/Speaking Proficiency Level by Grade

(N = 189,981)

 

 

 

 

 

(% Within Grade Level)

Grade

Beginning

Intermediate

Advanced

Proficient

K

5.8

28.3

40.1

25.8

01

3.3

14.4

49.6

32.7

02

2.4

9.0

45.7

43.0

03

3.6

9.1

48.3

39.1

04

5.5

10.6

45.0

38.9

05

6.6

12.7

38.4

42.3

06

11.7

17.1

37.8

33.3

07

8.6

16.1

37.8

37.6

08

10.1

21.0

30.0

38.9

09

15.2

29.5

29.3

26.0

10

9.4

34.3

31.3

25.0

11

5.6

34.3

34.3

25.9

12

5.6

41.9

27.7

24.8

Ungraded K-6

18.6

29.8

40.7

11.0

Ungraded 7-12

19.6

33.9

42.0

4.5

State Total:

6.6

18.8

40.5

34.2

 

 

NOTE:  The total Ns are different for some tables due to missing data. For example, Table 5 on listening and speaking proficiency level  shows a N of 189,981 instead of 192,425, because some students were missing either listening or speaking scores, therefore, they did not receive proficiency level designation for listening and speaking. Another example is Table 10. Only 189,461 out of the 192,425 LEP/ELLs reported on the Years of Service variable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table 6:  Distribution of LEP/ELL Students by Reading/Writing Proficiency Level and Grade

(N = 190,595)

 

 

 

 

 

(% Within Grade Level)

Grade

Beginning

Intermediate

Advance

Proficient

K

40.5

40.6

10.0

8.8

01

16.1

28.1

27.0

28.7

02

12.1

32.2

33.8

21.9

03

9.6

22.2

39.5

28.7

04

9.9

20.1

38.4

31.6

05

14.3

21.8

38.1

25.8

06

18.5

24.8

32.6

24.1

07

22.0

33.4

27.3

17.3

08

23.3

34.5

20.6

21.6

09

14.5

42.5

23.9

19.0

10

8.4

40.3

28.7

22.7

11

4.8

43.3

26.9

24.9

12

4.4

50.7

22.7

22.2

Ungraded K-6

55.2

26.6

13.7

4.5

Ungraded 7-12

84.8

12.5

2.7

0.0 

State Total:

17.4

31.8

28.3

22.6

 

Table 7:  Distribution of LEP/ELL Students by Overall Proficiency Level and Grade

(N = 189,461)

 

 

 

 

 

(% Within Grade Level)

Grade

Beginning

Intermediate

Advance

Proficient

K

41.2

41.8

11.7

5.3

01

16.6

30.5

36.7

16.3

02

12.3

32.5

37.4

17.7

03

10.2

22.8

47.5

19.5

04

10.8

20.9

47.3

21.0

05

15.1

22.7

42.8

19.4

06

20.3

25.9

37.7

16.1

07

22.6

33.4

30.0

14.0

08

24.2

34.5

23.6

17.7

09

20.4

40.5

25.9

13.2

10

12.9

43.7

29.0

14.3

11

7.8

47.9

29.5

14.8

12

7.9

56.9

22.5

12.7

Ungraded K-6

55.8

26.5

15.2

2.5

Ungraded 7-12

85.6

12.6

1.8

 0.0

State Total:

18.8

32.8

33.0

15.4

 

3) Attaining English Proficiency

 

LEP/ELL students need to attain English proficiency in order to exit ESL/bilingual services.  Attaining English proficiency is defined by scores at the Proficient Level on both the L/S and R/W components of the NYSESLAT.  In 2006, a total of 29,216 of all LEP/ELL students (15.4%) who took the NYSESLAT scored at the Proficient Level on both the L/S and R/W components, compared to the 11.3 percent exiting rate in 2005.  The distributions of LEP/ELL students who attained English proficiency by need/resource category, grade level, and years of service are detailed in the tables below.

 

 

 

Table 8:  Number and Percent of LEP/ELL Students Exiting
by Need/Resource Category

 

(N = 189,461)

 

 

 

 

 

Need/Resource Category

Number

Percent

 

New York City

19,060

14.4

 

Big 4 Cities

1,225

12.6

 

High Need Urban/Suburban

2,941

15.2

 

High Need Rural

202

16.8

 

Average Need

3,535

20.3

 

Low Need

2,167

24.4

 

Unspecified

86

17.7

 

State Total:

29,216

15.4

 

Table 9:  Number and Percent of LEP/ELL Students Exiting by Grade

(N = 189,461)

Grade

Count

%

K

1,256

5.3

01

4,141

16.3

02

4,055

17.7

03

3,666

19.5

04

3,107

21.0

05

2,547

19.4

06

1,749

16.1

07

1,681

14.0

08

2,118

17.7

09

1,809

13.2

10

1,762

14.3

11

986

14.8

12

328

12.7

Ungraded K-6

11

2.5

Ungraded 7-12

0

0.0

State Total:

29,216

15.4

 

 

Table 10:  Number and Percent of LEP/ELL Students Exiting

by Years of ESL Service

(N = 189,461)

Year of ESL Service

Number

Percent

Less than One

1,085

9.9

One Year

3,396

8.6

Two Years

5,491

16.9

Three of More Years

15,280

20.6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Attachment B

 

Actions to Close the Gap for Limited English Proficient Students

 

To assist districts to improve results in a way that will have the greatest impact statewide, and in accordance with the P-16 initiative to provide technical assistance to low performing schools, the Office of Bilingual Education and Foreign Language Studies has identified the following strategies:

 

  1. Hold schools and districts accountable for meeting improvement targets in English language acquisition. Raise the level of improvement required over time.

 

       The Department has in place rigorous targets to measure and raise the expected level of performance of LEP/ELL students. Schools will continue to be held accountable for meeting adequate yearly progress (AYP) and annual measurable achievement objectives (AMAOS). Through this accountability system, schools must report the results of student achievement in English language arts. Schools that fail to meet the expected targets will be identified and required to submit an improvement plan. If, after four consecutive years, such schools still do not meet the established accountability requirements, the Department will require them to modify their curriculum or redirect/eliminate funds, and replace educational personnel.

 

       The U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) determined that New Yorkís use of NYSESLAT for English language arts accountability was not consistent with the requirements of NCLB and directed New York to come into compliance by the end of the 2006-07 school year. As a result, New York must administer its ELA assessment to LEP/ELL students who, on January 3, 2007, have been enrolled in school in the United States (excluding Puerto Rico) for one year or more. All LEP/ELL students are still required to take the NYSESLAT to annually assess the studentís English proficiency, as required by Title III. 

 

New York State has joined the LEP/ELL Partnership established by USDOE along with 20 other states to interact with the nationís top researchers and practitioners on LEP/ELL assessment and instruction and meet with USDOE officials, technical assistance providers and assessment experts who will consult with individual states to develop state-specific plans and a timeline for improving LEP assessments.  Participation in the LEP Partnership has provided the opportunity to voice concerns on the impact of the NYSESLAT accountability decision on LEP/ELL students, parents, teachers and the community.  The LEP Partnership is expected to help states measure what LEP/ELL students know and what they have yet to learn in all subjects so instructional decisions can be based on valid and reliable data.

 

       The six New York City BETACS with the collaboration of the New York City Department of Education, Division of English Language Learners, have been providing professional development conferences and workshops for teachers and administrators around the city. The focus this year has been the high schools that have been identified as in need of improvement based on the NYSESLAT. Schools have been selected in each of the BETAC service areas in which the School Quality Review will be implemented.

 

  1. Increase monitoring to ensure that students are receiving all required time and services in English and native language instruction.  Report results. The Regents will determine consequences for noncompliance.

 

       Monitoring activities will be increased and will focus on the implementation of the Departmentís approved Language Allocation Policy.  The monitoring plan for 2006-2007 will include the Big 5 and districts with large numbers of LEP/ELL students. The assessment as to how the districts are implementing this policy begins with the review of the districtís Comprehensive Plans. Districts that fail to implement the policy will not be granted approval of their Part 154 Comprehensive Plan and will not be entitled to claim State or federal funds for the education of LEP/ELL students.

 

       To strengthen the linkages between bilingual education and the seven State learning standards areas, in February 2006 the Office of Bilingual Education and Foreign Language Studies became part of the Office of Curriculum and Instructional Services.  Through this alignment, and that officeís strong ties to the Office of State Assessment, we will ensure that the needs of English language learners are considered in all curricular and assessment policy discussions.

 

  1. Improve the quality of bilingual and English as Second Language (ESL) teachers through new incentives and expanded professional development.

 

Certification Requirements:

 

       Increased collaboration with the Office of Teaching Initiatives will continue to examine current requirements and obstacles that prevent the recruitment, certification and retention of bilingual/ESL teachers. The Intensive Teacher Institute will continue to provide financial support to those teachers seeking a bilingual education or ESL certificate.

 

Recruitment:

 

       The Department has provided IDEA funds ($898,395.00) to the New York City Department of Education to support the preparation of special education and bilingual special education teachers.

 

       The Department has expanded outreach to minority populations through events like the Forum on the Future of Hispanic Education, the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus, the Angelo Del Toro Hispanic Youth Leadership Institute, the Somas El Futuro Conference sponsored by the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Assembly/Senate Task Force and the Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration among others.

 

       The efforts of the Office of Teaching Initiatives to increase the pool of qualified teachers in New York will have a positive impact on this population.

 

       The creation of the Intensive Teachers institute (ITI) will address the shortage of bilingual and ELL teachers in general education.

 

Expert Advice:

 

       A selected, experienced group of practitioners in the field of bilingual education/English as a second language was formed in March 2006.   This group of experts will meet periodically with the Commissioner and staff to keep them abreast of the latest issues surrounding the education of LEP/ELL students and offering their sound advice and recommendations for action. 

 

       For the past four years, the Bilingual and ESL Teacher Leadership Academy (BETLA) have worked with a group of teachers each year to develop mentor teachers and leaders for English language learners. The programs consist of a one-month intensive summer program and monthly classroom visits and meetings throughout the year. We are considering increasing the BETLA funding next year to increase the number of participating teachers.

 

Professional Development:

 

       For the 2006-2007 academic year, four regional bilingual/ESL Teacher Institutes for teachers and administrators of LEP/ELL programs will be held.   Over 1,500 are expected to participate in these Teacher Institutes.  This yearís focused agenda is on literacy, administration of the 2006 NYSESLAT, and accountability.

 

       The 14 BETACs have conducted statewide professional development for Bilingual and ESL teachers, mainstream teachers, administrators, students, parents and clinicians, and have reached 10,000 participants statewide. The professional development addresses issues of effective strategies for the education of LEP/ELL students, the content area, cross training with parent networks, understanding, identifying and educating bilingual special education students, etc.

 

       The Department has developed a document that provides information on the history, culture and education systems of the Caribbean countries.  The document, along with a training protocol, will be rolled out in 2007, primarily in those regions with large concentrations of students from these counties.  Students from English-speaking Caribbean countries would benefit from some form of transitional services that would facilitate their adjustment to a new school environment in the United States.  These services should be provided by teachers or school personnel with appropriate training.

 

4.     Increase outreach with the New York City Department of Education to provide better information to parents on ESL and bilingual programs that can improve the parentsí own levels of reading, writing, and speaking English.

 

       The Department will continue to work with the New York City Department of Education to expand Title III funded activities that provide outreach to parents of immigrant students and LEP/ELL students. The development and dissemination of school-related information to parents, in the language they understand, will also continue. The Department, in coordination with the New York City Department of Education, has developed a tool kit for parents (in different languages) to keep them informed and engaged in school-related activities associated with their childrenís education. 

 

       Information on the Parent and Family Partnership Policy undergoing revisions for the Board of Regents is being disseminated in several languages.  Once the policy is approved, it will be translated in the top five languages spoken by parents of LEP/ELL students in New York State.           

 

 


                          

Attachment C

 

Strategies to Build Capacity to School Districts to Strengthen Educational Services for English Language Learners (ELLs)

September 2004

 

  1. Improve the quality of teachers of English as a second language (ESL) and bilingual education programs by developing a Transitional B certificate program to enable teachers certified in other areas to teach ESL and bilingual education, and expand professional development for teachers and building administrators on the best practices and strategies for instructing ELLs.  These actions will be undertaken in cooperation with the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) and other school districts serving high concentrations of ELLs.

 

  1. Improve the quality of ESL and bilingual education curriculum and instruction by disseminating New York State curriculum guides for English as a second language and native language arts and by providing more information on classroom lessons that can be the basis for additional professional development for teachers.

 

  1. Increase monitoring by both the SED and NYCDOE to ensure that language allocation requirements are in place - i.e., the proportion of time spent on English and native language instruction at different grade levels.

 

  1. Organize and disseminate data from the New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test (NYSESLAT).  Take steps to make sure the data is used by teachers and administrators to improve classroom practice and to identify high-and low-performing programs.

 

  1. Review high school equivalency programs that serve ELLs to determine if these programs should be subject to the same intensive English requirements that exist for regular high school level programs for ELLs.

 

  1. Advocate for additional funding from the federal government and State Legislature to expand dual language programs and create a program of educational support services for students who transition from ELL status into the regular education program.  Also, institute a process for reviewing all entitlement funding programs under No Child Left Behind that can be used to support the needs of ELLs in all large city and high-need school districts.  In 2004-2005, SED reviewed the use of Title III funds as a part of a consolidated application from these districts.

 

  1. Support the New York City Department of Education and other school districts serving high concentrations of ELLs in the training of principals and other administrators to improve their awareness of the needs of ELLs and to inform them of the most effective instructional strategies.

 

  1. Work with the New York City Department of Education and other school districts serving high concentrations of ELLs to establish better information for parents on English as a second language and bilingual programs and on programs that can improve parentsí own levels of reading, writing and speaking English.

 

  1. Work with the New York City Department of Education to identify new funding for immigrant students, which can be allocated to improve instruction and support services for English-speaking Caribbean students.

 

  1. Create a Committee of Practitioners to advise the Commissioner and the Regents on implementation of State policy on ELLs.