English learners scored at 7 percent proficiency nationally in fourth-grade reading on the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), an outcome that has remained effectively unchanged since 2003. But despite inherent difficulties in comparing outcomes, most notably the different definitions and systems used for identifying English learners in different states, the wide range of disparate outcomes across different states seems worthy of some analysis.
- Among states with the nation’s largest English learner populations, New Jersey, Nevada, Florida and Texas had overall results above the national average.
- Major differences between proficiency rates on NAEP and those produced by different state accountability systems were found in all states examined. In California, Illinois and Texas, the rate of fourth-grade English learners scoring proficient or above in reading was much higher on state tests than on NAEP.
- Declining rates of English learners scoring at Below Basic levels continued to be a promising trend overall, especially in light of falling exclusion rates.
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