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Press Release: State Scores for English Language Learners Show Crisis in College and Career Readiness


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Press Contact: Juan J. Ramirez,  Main Phone: 212-627-2227 x 228,  E-mail: jramirez@thenyic.org
New York  (Wednesday, August 7, 2013)

Press Release: State Scores for English Language Learners Show Crisis in College and Career Readiness

Statewide, only 3.2% of English language learners reached proficiency levels in English Language Arts and only 9.8% of English language learners attained proficiency in Mathematics according to results released by the state today on the 2012–13 Grades 3–8 English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics tests. These numbers reflect a dramatic drop from already abysmal proficiency levels last year, which were 11.7% and 34.4% in English Language Arts and Mathematics respectively for English language learners.

While results for students overall declined substantially this year due to new assessments that measure the Common Core Learning Standards, proficiency levels for English language learners are substantially lower than those for students who are not learning English. According to the State, the new tests should accurately reflect preparedness for college and careers.

“Today’s shocking results show what we already knew to be true – that despite their vast potential and unique language skills, English language learners are being left far behind by our education system, from declining ELL graduation rates, single-digit college-and-career preparedness levels, and the growing achievement gap,” said Steven Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition. “New York State and New York City must take urgent action to ensure equality for all students. We are ready to work with the State and City to provide better instruction and better schools that highlight ELLs’ unique strengths and challenges, assessments that better measure their abilities, and increased parent engagement that makes immigrant parents a true stakeholder in their children’s education.”

Today’s test results follow graduation rates released in June 2013 that show ELLs, who face specific content and language challenges on these tests, are falling sharply behind their English-proficient peers. According to this data, the four-year graduation rate for English language learners has dropped for the 2nd year in a row, declining by 4% since last year. Only one of every three English language learners (34.3%) graduate in 4 years, compared with a 76.2% graduation rate for English proficient students, and the ELL graduation rate is now at a four-year low. This achievement gap between English language learners and English-speaking students is now at 40 percentage points according to 2013 New York State Education Department data, the second year in a row that saw a worsening of the gap. In New York City, only one out of every fourteen of New York City’s English language learners (7%) meet college readiness standards.

More than 210,000 students were designated as English language learners in New York State in 2011. New York City is home to approximately 75% of those students. More than 41% of students in New York City’s public schools speak a language other than English at home.

Note: Proficiency used above in relation to 2012–13 Grades 3–8 English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics tests is defined by scores at Level 3 or 4.


The New York Immigration Coalition is an umbrella policy and advocacy organization for nearly 200 groups in New York State that work with immigrants and refugees.The NYIC aims to achieve a fairer and more just society that values the contributions of immigrants and extends opportunity to all by promoting immigrants’ full civic participation, fostering their leadership, and providing a unified voice and a vehicle for collective action for New York’s diverse immigrant communities.




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