Huge Rise in Statewide California Immigrant Test Scores

Although obviously overshadowed by the massive news coverage surrounding the Democratic presidential convention in Los Angeles, the statewide release of the second year’s worth of post-Prop. 227 immigrant test scores contained extremely encouraging news.

Overall, the test scores of 1.4 million immigrant students rose dramatically in the less than two years since the beginning of the 1998 school year. Mean percentile scores across all subjects in grades 2-6 were up an average of 39%, with far greater gains in those districts such as Oceanside and Santa Barbara which most completely shifted to English immersion and far less in districts such as Vista and San Jose, which attempted to maintain their bilingual programs. Oceanside’s immigrant students, mostly the children of poor Spanish-speaking farm-workers DOUBLED their mean scores during this period.

As anyone familiar with educational reforms should be aware, gains of this magnitude and this speed for low-achieving children across an entire large state are quite remarkable.

When the dust settles and the results are more completely analyzed, the supporters of bilingual education, who predicted educational disaster if Prop. 227 passed, will obviously have a great deal of explaining to do. And politicians of both parties now have a clear roadmap to a cost-free and very popular means of dramatically raising immigrant test scores within a short period of time.

I’m providing a copy of our press release on the signficance of the scores and the corresponding Associated Press story. Since the changes in test scores are simple facts, but the impressiveness of these changes is subject to dispute, I’m also attaching a Word file containing the actual mean percentile scores for a selection of representative school district. I believe the numbers can speak for themselves.

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