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English learners' test scores up in SCV

• All five school districts show improvements.

Posted: April 25, 2008 3:15 a.m.
Updated: June 26, 2008 5:02 a.m.
 
The results of the California English Language Development Test (CELDT) were released Wednesday, with all five Santa Clarita Valley school districts showing improvement in the test scores of their English language learners.

The number of SCV students taking the CELDT also increased, and the number of English learners who took the test this school year increased by nearly 24,000 - 2 percent - over last year statewide.

The CELDT is one of four criteria English language learners must pass before being reclassified to fluent English proficient. The others include state test scores, teacher evaluation and parent opinion.

The William S. Hart Union High School District had 104 more students take the CELDT this year. According to Terry Deloria, director of special services, the increase is due in part to the district's aggressive stance in identifying students whose first language is something other than English, and developing programs across the district to serve their needs.

"The CELDT is just one of the tools we use to place students in classrooms and programs," Deloria said.

"If a student is not moving up, we know we need to work on intervention."

The Hart district had 55 percent of its English language learners meet the CELDT criteria this year, a 7 percent increase over last year. The Newhall and Saugus Union school districts both had 39 percent of students taking the test meet the criteria, and Castaic Union School District had 30 percent and Sulphur Springs School District had 27 percent.

The Castaic district saw the biggest improvement, with 10 percent more students meeting the CELDT criteria than last year.

"It's a cause for celebration for us. We've been working really hard," said Lisa Bloom, coordinator of special projects for the district.

According to Bloom, Castaic district teachers have been receiving special training to help them meet the needs of the district's English language learners.

"Without command of the English language, it's very difficult for students to become proficient on the California standards," Bloom said. "That's the chore - educating students to learn English and to master the standards at the same time."

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