BY ALEXANDER WILLIS
Williamson County Schools was one of only seven school districts in the state to have students enrolled in English Learners programs meet the exit criteria in numbers of over 40 percent in 2018. For comparison, the state’s average in 2018 was 17.6 percent.
Thousands of children across the state are enrolled in English Learning programs in schools, the ultimate goal being for these children to meet the exit criteria and exit said programs. Once english learner students meet the exit criteria on the WIDA ACCESS assessment, they will have successfully exited the ESL programming, and are considered proficient enough in the English language to not require further ESL teaching.
“Tennessee students speak more than 140 languages, and it is our responsibility to ensure all of these students are supported in both their English language development and in their academic growth,” said Tennessee Department of Education Commissioner Candice McQueen in a statement. “These results show encouraging progress and that what we are doing to support our students is working. In Tennessee, we are committed to the growth and development of all students, and through our continued efforts we will be able to better support our English learners.”
Statewide, the 2018 assessment found that 50 percent of English Learners met their growth standard, a significant jump from 45.5 percent in 2017. A goal set by the Tennessee Department of Education is to raise the percentage of English Learners who meet their growth standards to 75 percent by 2025.
To meet this goal, new developments will be rolled out on a regular basis to help improve ESL programming, such as the new individual learning plan (ILP). The ILP, which just launched this current school year, will require every English Learner student to have a document custom-tailored to them that details accommodations, strategies and goals to help the student be as successful as possible.
For further information on ESL programming for both children and adults, visit the Williamson County Schools ESL page by clicking here.