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For Immediate Release
Wednesday, January 31, 2001
Contact:Jonathan Palumbo, 781-338-3105

Department of Education Report Shows Improvement of Limited English Proficient Students on MCAS

Malden - A recent study of achievement on the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) by students with limited English proficiency highlights improvement in performance from 1998 to 1999, and continued high participation.

The Massachusetts Department of Education commissioned the Northeast and Islands Regional Educational Laboratory at Brown University (LAB) to analyze participation and performance levels achieved by students with limited English proficiency (LEP) on the MCAS tests.

The LAB report, "The Performance of Limited English Proficient Students on the 1998 and 1999 Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System," outlines several areas of improvement for LEP students at the fourth-grade level.

Commissioner of Education David P. Driscoll said, "We have asked the LAB to incorporate the recently released 2000 test results in their analyses. On the basis of those findings, we will work with districts to support effective instructional practices and support for these students. We are committed to the success of all of the Commonwealth's students."

1999 test participation rates for LEP students who had been enrolled in a US school for more than three years ranged from 88 percent in Science & Technology, to 96 percent in English Language Arts. Participation was higher in English Language Arts than in Mathematics or Science & Technology, and higher in fourth grade than in eighth and tenth grades.

At the fourth-grade level, the passing rate for all LEP students was above 50 percent in all three tests -- English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science & Technology -- reflecting an improvement in performance across the two years. More than one half of the eighth grade LEP students and one third of the tenth grade LEP students passed English Language Arts in 1999.

Commissioner Driscoll noted that while there was some improvement in the test performance of some LEP students in 1999, there is still much work to do to improve the academic performance and test participation levels of students who are limited English proficient.

For more information on the LAB report, visit the Department of Education website at

Last Updated: January 31, 2001
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