School district pleased with language-learner test results |

School district pleased with language-learner test results

Half of the students learning English as another language in Lake Tahoe Unified School District scored above the intermediate level, prompting a favorable reaction from district officials.

But 50 percent of 878 students who took the California English Language Development Test in October and scored at early advanced or advanced is two percentage points lower than last year’s mark, when 881 students took the state exam.

The scores are segmented into five areas: Beginning, early intermediate, intermediate, early advanced and advanced.

“Are we happy? Yes,” said Superintendent Jim Tarwater. “Anytime kids achieve like this and make this kind of steady performance gain, it reflects what we’re doing in the classroom.”

While the numbers of students who scored at early advanced or advanced is two percentage points lower than last year, it’s higher than the three school years beginning in 2001-02.

That school year had 382 students, or 38 percent, scoring at early advanced or advanced. More than 1,000 students took the test that school year and the total number of pupils who have taken the test has declined, perhaps reflecting the declining enrollment phenomenon.

The district had better scores than El Dorado County and the state, which both had 47 percent of students scoring at early advanced or advanced.

The district exceeded its test goals for each school, Tarwater said.

South Tahoe Middle School had 126 students out of 192 who took the test score at early advanced or advanced. At Bijou Community School, 71 students out of 227 students, or 31 percent, scored at the high levels but 100 pupils, or 40 percent, scored at the intermediate level.

Sue O’Connor, a coordinator of English Language Development in the district, said scores could rise next year.

“Ever since (October) we’ve implemented new programs through the district for English learners and we expect and hope to see more growth next year,” she said.

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