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Blue Ribbon School is ELL Success Story


The Washington Post reports some good news today in the world of English-language learners. The article says that 91 of the 98 ELLs at Highland Elementary School in Montgomery County, Md.--a school now tapped for a coveted educational honor--passed the state's reading test this year.

The school is one of six recently nominated by the Maryland State Department of Education for the U.S. Department of Education's "blue ribbon" schools program.

Also, the Post reported today that the Maryland State Board of Education has approved a policy that enables some seniors at risk of not graduating, including English-language learners, to seek a waiver from the state's new exit exam. The class of 2009 is the first to be affected by the new exit-exam requirements.


If they can pass the State Reading test then they are not ELLs. If they are ELLs they shouldn't be able to (or really be required to) pass the State Reading test.

ELLs in our state ARE required to take State standardized tests at their grade level. The scores are not counted in the first two years the child is in US schools (i.e. not just in our state or our school). We regularly have some students who score proficient on the State's standardized assessments but not on the annual test of English Language proficiency (which is required by NCLB). The language proficiency test assesses the five language domains: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Typically the State's reading test only assesses reading comprehension. I am not defending this massive testing machine, just explaining the difference and the apparent discrepancy. Congratulations to the children and staff of Highland Elementary!

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