The Common Core State Standards represent an exciting step forward for California and for the nation as a whole in supporting strong instruction that can better prepare students for college and career success. As educators embrace the challenges associated with assessment of the Common Core, it is instructive to learn from the California Learning Assessment System (CLAS) experience in the early 1990s—both to build on its successes and to avoid the mistakes that led to its demise.
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Title III of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) provides funds to states and districts to support ELL students’ successful attainment of English language proficiency and state academic standards. The U.S. Department of Education commissioned AIR to evaluate the Title III program to determine how well states are implementing its provisions, how state policy translates into district practices, and how well ELLs are mastering grade-level content and improving their English language proficiency.
The U.S. Department of Education has released a report examining approaches to setting criteria for measuring the progress of English learners in classrooms as part of a four-year project led by AIR. The report, National Evaluation of Title III Implementation Supplemental Report: Exploring Approaches to Setting English Language Proficiency Performance Criteria and Monitoring English Learner Progress, provides examples of various ways states can use enhanced data systems to address key questions.
The First 5 LA Family Literacy Initiative is a comprehensive program to promote language and literacy development, parenting knowledge and skills, and economic self-sufficiency among low-income families in Los Angeles County. Findings from the eight-year evaluation of this Family Literacy Initiative have shown significant growth in language and literacy skills among children participating in these programs.