Annual English Test For Immigrant Kids

ALBANY – Immigrant students will be required to take a revamped language test as early as next spring so the state can monitor how well their schools are teaching English.

The state Education Department is in the process of developing the exam, which will be given annually to immigrant students who are just learning English, said Education Department Assistant Commissioner Roseanne DeFabio. They’re now required to take a test, but the new version will be tied to the tougher English standards that all other students must now meet.

Several versions of the test – which officials say may be the first of its kind in the nation – will be administered to take into account a student’s age, grade level and degree of English ability.

“It’s a good way to ensure the kids are keeping pace with their peers,” DeFabio said.

With 140,000, New York City has the highest number of immigrant students in the state.

The new test comes at a time when standardized English and math tests have come under increasing criticism by those who feel they do not adequately measure student achievement.

But DeFabio said testing immigrants who initially speak and read little English will help show where bilingual programs are working or are in need of improvement.

City education officials were unaware of the proposal and had no comment yesterday.

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