As 2014 came to a close, the U.S. Department of Education granted the state of Florida flexibility in the assessment of English Language Learners (ELLs). The Department's announcement will allow the state's ELLs to be enrolled in a U.S. school for two years before their assessment scores are counted as part of their school's grade. To read the letter from the U.S. Department of Education to Commissioner Stewart about this change in policy, click here.
It is important to note that English Language Learners will still have to take the English/Language Arts and Mathematics state-wide assessments during their first year enrolled even though their scores will not be included for the purposes of the school grade. The ELL's first year scores will be used to monitor his or her progress and to calculate growth, which will factor into the school grade calculation after the second year assessed.
The decision by the U.S. Department of Education followed earlier threats to revoke the Florida's waiver from No Child Left Behind (NCLB) requirements if they did not comply with the one year mandate to include ELLs'scores for accountability purposes. To learn more about the efforts Florida's educational leaders made to advocate for this flexibility in accountability, click here, or read our white paper describing the research behind the time it takes these learners to become proficient with the English language.