Non-English speakers see rise in test scores

Some officials credit English immersion classes for the increase

Standardized test scores for students with limited English-speaking skills are on the rise in Orange County, though they still score significantly lower than their native English-speaking counterparts.


The state on Tuesday released detailed Stanford 9 data, which broke students’ scores into categories based on economic status, English proficiency and gender.


This is the second year Proposition 227 required most students to learn in English immersion classes. However, educators say a variety of state-initiated reforms — like class-size reductions — may also have contributed to gains by limited-English students.


“It’s a combination of issues,” said Jeff Bristow, testing administrator at the Capistrano Unified School District.


At San Clemente High School, there was a mix of percentile point gains and losses among limited-English students.


For example, reading scores for 10th grade, limited-English students rose 6 percentile points over last year. Science scores for 11th graders in the same category rose 2 points, but dropped 4 percentile points for ninth graders.


The school district is considering reducing the number of students in ninth grade English classes at SCHS sometime in the next two years.


In math, limited-English ninth graders increased their scores by 5 percentile points and 10th graders by 4 percentile points.


Eleventh graders’ math scores did not change.


Statewide, overall scores for limited-English students — who make up one-fourth of public school students — mirrored the increases shown by all California students.


In California high schools, female students perform better than males in all subjects except history and science. Economically disadvantaged students score lower than wealthier students, but poorer students’ scores are rising, according to the test results.


For complete Stanford 9 results, go to


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