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States Backslide in Achievement for English-Learners, Report Finds

Just nine states met all of their federal goals for English-language learners in making progress in learning the language and reaching academic targets in math and reading in the two school years spanning 2008-10, according to a recently released report from the U.S. Department of Education.

That's a drop from 11 states that met all their goals for ELLs in the 2007-08 school year, and an even bigger slide backward from 2006-07 when 17 states (a record high) reached all three academic benchmarks they set for English-learners, which incude progress in learning English, attainment of fluency, and demonstration of proficiency on state content tests in reading and math.

These new data appear in a way-past-its-deadline report to Congress on the progress of the federal Title III program that supports language acquisition instruction and services for ELLs.

The report, which is dated from June of this year, only recently appeared on the website for the National Clearninghouse of English Language Acquisition. It is the fourth such update for Congress on the progress of English-learners since the passage of the No Child Left Behind law.

Under the rules of Title III, each state sets its own goals for measuring progress in learning English, as measured by results on English-language proficiency exams, attainment of fluency in English, and demonstration of proficiency on state exams in reading and math.

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