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ESL Students Show Improved Test Scores, But Still Lag Behind

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Aired 4/19/09

A new state report finds more San Diego County students who are learning English as a second language are performing better on an English language test this year compared to last year. However the majority of these students are still woefully behind. KPBS Reporter Ana Tintocalis has the story.

The California Department of Education examines how well students who speak Spanish, Vietnamese, or any other language are grasping the English language.

This year 35 percent of non-native English speaking students in San Diego County scored at advanced levels in speaking, writing and reading the English language. That's up five percent from last year. Doing well on the state test means these kids are no longer considered as English learners.

However, that leaves more than 60 percent of students who scored at average or below average levels. 

That figure is about the same as the rest of the state.

State School Superintendent Jack O'Connell says these students are making good progress but he continues to be concerned with the large numbers that lag behind. He says becoming fluent in English is critical to these students' futures and the future of the state. 

Ana Tintocalis, KPBS News.

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