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English-language learners in 8th grade performed a tad worse in math on the National Assessment of Educational Progress in 2009 than they did in 2007, according to the scale scores on the test.
The scale score for 8th graders who are ELLs dropped 2 points, from 245 to 243, in two years, which is statistically significant, Jonathan Beard, an associate research scientist for the National Center for Education Statistics, said in an e-mail message. The scores for 4th graders who are ELLs stayed statistically the same over that time. The scores increased by 1 point, from 217 to 218, but that isn't considered significant.
The proportion of English-language learners both in 4th grade and 8th grade scoring "at or above proficient" dropped 1 percentage point from 2007 to 2009, according to a quick comparison of the scores released this week with those from two years ago. (See Tables A-16 and A-24 in the 2009 report for information on ELLs. See Tables A-13 and A-20 in the 2007 report.) This year's NAEP report on math says that 12 percent of ELLs in 4th grade scored proficient or above, while 13 percent did in 2007. Five percent of ELLs in 8th grade scored proficient or above in 2009, down from 6 percent two years before.