English language learners continue to struggle in the latest Department of Education report

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PROVIDENCE, RI (WLNE) — English language learners continue to struggle in the latest report from the Rhode Island Department of Education released Friday.

The Department of Education has disclosed the findings of the first Local Education Agency Accountability (LEA) report required by state and federal law.

According to the report, 31 of the registered districts and charter schools scored poorly on English language proficiency, a section of the scores that measures the strength of those learning English as a second language.

Only three schools/districts earned the “Strong Performer” mark in this section.

Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green shared her concerns about declining numbers of multilingual learners.

“I think the residents who have been affected so badly, they really need support, and in all counties across the state they need more support,” said Infante Green.

She added that the pandemic played a major role in this and other categories measured in the report.

In addition to measuring proficiency for multilingual learners, the report measured five other categories, including: achievement, growth, graduation rates, diploma plus measures, school quality and student success.

The commissioner said the section she was most proud of was “Growth”, which measures students’ progress in English and Maths compared to their academic peers.

“What I’m encouraged about is that there’s been a lot of growth across the board, you see the provinces have made progress, that’s encouraging to me, and I think our region can do the work,” said Infante Green.

In this section, 56 out of 61 districts/schools performed moderately to strong.

The results did not provide a final ranking or tabulated outcome as the commissioner said the goal of the report was to help counties understand where they could improve.

“What accountability is meant to do is move the needle, and what we hope is that provinces focus on those areas,” Infante Green said.