WHITTIER – Test results released Wednesday showed larger numbers of English-language learners at local K-12 schools scoring at advanced levels in English proficiency during testing last year. On average among nine Whittier-area school districts, nearly half of English-learners scored at the highest levels on the 2005 California English Language Development Test – right in line with statewide trends. The CELDT assesses listening and speaking skills for kindergarten and first grades, and listening, speaking, reading and writing skills for grades 2-12. It’s the state’s primary measure for determining English proficiency among English learners. The best results were seen at the Whittier Union High School District, where 78 percent of these students scored in the “early advanced” or “advanced” categories, which are the highest levels. Assistant Superintendent Ron Carruth attributed the success to having an Expanded Horizons office at every school, which devotes a full-time staffer to monitoring the grades of English learners and making sure they’re in the right classes. About 15 percent of enrolled students are English learners at the Whittier Union High School District, officials said. But even at districts that posted the lowest numbers in these categories, educators said the test still indicated overall improvement among all English-learners. The Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District had only 37percent of its English learners score at advanced levels. But Director of Student Services Herman Mendez said the overall CELDT results were favorable. “The state has an extra accountability measure for English learners that we have to meet, and they’re called Annual Measurable Academic Objectives,” Mendez said. “Two of three AMAO’s are specific to the CELDT – they require that we improve fluency and that a certain percentage be reclassified every year as fluent English students – and we exceeded both of those. So it’s looking favorable.” “But like with any program, especially now with the Olympics going on, even those who are in top form always say they can do better.” The situation is similar at the Whittier City School District. Only 32 percent of English learners scored at the advanced levels, but Superintendent Carmella Franco said this year’s CELDT shows more upward movement by students in the lower levels. “Fewer students were tested this year – from 1,800 to 1,692 – but we noticed our beginning levels are moving up to the early intermediate category, and we’re also increasing our numbers in the intermediate levels,” Franco said. “Of course, our focus will be on moving these groups, if they’re still here with us in the next few years, into the early advanced and advanced levels,” Franco said. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell cautioned against year-to-year comparisons of CELDT results, saying each year the populations of English learners in a school or school district can change dramatically. For example, officials said, top English-learner performers can be reclassified as fluent and in their place come a different group of English learners just starting to progress toward proficiency. “If California is to maintain its competitive edge in the global economy, we must prepare all students with strong communication and analytical skills,” O’Connell said in a statement. “I commend our schools for remaining focused on helping English learners become proficient in English.” Complete test results can be viewed at http://celdt.cde.ca.gov. [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3051 AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!