English language learners continue to struggle in latest Department of Education report

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — English learners are continuing to struggle in the latest report released by the Rhode Island Department of Education Friday.

The Department of Education unveiled the results of its first ever Local Education Agency Accountability (LEA) report that is required under state and federal law.

According to the report, 31 of the recorded districts and charter schools scored poorly in English Language Proficiency, a section of the results that measures the strength of those learning English as a second language.

Only three schools/districts received a “strong performance” mark in the section.

Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green shared her concerns regarding the low numbers pertaining to multi-language learners.

“I think it is a population that has been very impacted, that really needs the support, and in all districts across the state they need more support,” said Infante-Green.

She added the pandemic played a major role on this and other categories measured in the report.

In addition to measuring proficiency for multi-language learners, the report measured five other categories, including: achievement, growth, graduation rates, diploma plus measures and school quality and student success.

The commissioner said the section she was most proud of was the “growth” which measures students’ progress in English and math compared to their academic peers.

“What I’m encouraged is that there has been a lot of growth across the board, you see that districts have made progress, so that is encouraging for me, I think that says our district can do this work,” said Infante-Green.

In that section, 56 of 61 districts/schools had moderate to strong performance.

The results didn’t offer a final ranking or tabulated score as the commissioner said the goal is the report is to help districts understand where they can improve.

“What accountability is meant to do is to move the needle, what we are hoping is that districts focus in on those areas,” said Infante-Green.

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