Indiana: More help for students learning English

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Wed Aug 2 12:40:25 UTC 2006

More help for students learning English

pguinane at

INDIANAPOLIS | Thousands of Northwest Indiana students with limited
English skills will receive greater assistance on this year's state
achievement tests, Indiana's top education official announced Monday.
Indiana is joining 25 states in a partnership with the U.S. Department of
Education that is designed to better track the progress of students who do
not speak English as their primary language. "This partnership is an
important initiative because it emphasizes our belief that every student
counts," Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Suellen Reed said in
a statement. "Ensuring we have the most accurate representation of our
students progress is the only way to make sure we are truly leaving no
child behind."

For the last three school years, Indiana used a scoring system designed
for special education students to track the progress of students who have
a limited ability to read, write, speak or understand English, said Jason
Bearce, an Indiana Department of Education spokesman. Beginning this year,
the state will use traditional ISTEP-Plus scoring methods. Students with
limited English skills now will be provided with word-to-word dictionaries
and can have test directions read to them in their primary language.
Previously those students simply were given more test time, which might
not have benefitted those having difficulty understanding the material,
Bearce said.

Indiana schools taught more then 35,000 limited English proficient
students last year, including more than 6,800 in Lake County and nearly
600 in Porter County. Spanish was the primary language for four of five
students, though more than 200 languages were spoken in state elementary
and high schools.

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