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COAST, CENTRAL, AND NORTHWEST CITIES : GARDEN GROVE

District's Limited-English Students Outperform State Peers

September 04, 2000|CHRIS CEBALLOS | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Students with limited English skills in the Garden Grove Unified School District outscored state and national counterparts in almost all subjects on the Stanford 9 exam, school officials reported.

Classified as limited English proficient, these students outscored their state peers in all subjects and outscored students nationwide in all categories except reading in grades 9 through 11.

Officials also reported that scores showed improvement by students in grades 2 through 8 in each of the test subjects: reading, language, spelling and mathematics. High school students in grades 9 through 11 showed improvement in mathematics; in grades 9 and 10, reading; in 11th grade, language.

"We are pleased that our students and schools are making steady progress on the Stanford 9," Supt. Laura Schwalm said. "While our staff and students deserve credit for the growth in test scores, we still have a long way to go."

About 35,000 students took the test in English last spring. About half of the students in the district have yet to attain English fluency, double the statewide average of 25%. Nationwide, only 1.8% of the students taking the test had limited English skills.

"We must broaden our improvement efforts to help ensure all students have equal access to a quality education," she said.

More than 64 languages and cultures are represented in the district. Officials say that students who enter the district with limited English skills consistently outperform native-born, English-only students on standardized tests once they have gained English proficiency.

Officials said they will continue to analyze the test results using subgroups for girls and boys, the economically disadvantaged and students in special education.

Chris Ceballos can be reached at (714) 966-7440.

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