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On-Track Measures: English Language Proficiency Indicators

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) is committed to providing regular updates on the implementation of its recently approved Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Consolidated State Plan and the Future Ready PA Index, a comprehensive, public-facing school progress report that increases transparency around school and student group performance. This e-message is the eighth in a series to provide timely information on the transition to the Future Ready PA Index.

As outlined in previous Future Ready updates, indicators fall into three main categories:

  1. Statewide Assessment Measures
  2. On-Track Measures
  3. College and Career Ready Measures

This e-message provides additional details and support on the English Language Proficiency Indicator, one of two on-track measures, along with Chronic Absenteeism (reported as Regular Attendance), that will also serve as federal accountability indicators. This indicator provides a view of English learner growth toward, and on-time attainment of, English language proficiency as measured by the ACCESS for ELLs. English learners are expected to attain proficiency in English within a six-year span; however, this timeline can be less depending on initial proficiency level. Performance on this indicator will be calculated and depicted for all schools that meet the minimum student group size of 20 eligible English learners.

Frequently-asked questions and answers for the English Language Proficiency Indicator follow.

What are the steps to establish the Statewide 2030 goal and yearly interim targets?
Like academic achievement and graduation rate, the ESSA requires states to set long-term and interim targets for English learner proficiency. The State baseline will be calculated later this year using 2 years of data: 2015-16 (to reflect new cut scores on WIDA’s ACCESS for ELLs assessment) and 2016-17. Pennsylvania will set annual goals by identifying the difference between the current statewide baseline performance and the performance of the local education agency (LEA) with English learner attainment, and dividing this difference by the remaining number of years.

Statewide Interim Target: ESSA requires every state to set long-term goals for English Language Proficiency rate. Pennsylvania’s goal is to reduce, by half, the statewide percentage of English Learners that do not meet their attainment goal each year. Statewide Interim Targets represent the annual gain—across all public schools - required to close these gaps for the All-student group and for each student group.

Individual School Improvement Target: Every school will be assigned an Individual School Target for English Language Proficiency rate, based on the overall state goals set for 2030 and each school’s individual baseline ELP rate. After assigning the 2030 goal for each school, yearly individual school interim progress targets will be established.

What are the steps to establish and calculate English language proficiency for students and schools?

Step 1: Setting individual student growth targets:
The expectation is that schools meet increasing targets for students making adequate growth toward, and on-time attainment of, English language proficiency.
Individual student growth targets will be calculated each year as follows:

  • Use of ACCESS for ELLs composite scaled score and composite proficiency level
  • School year 2016-17 data will be used as the baseline year to set student growth targets
  • For students in their baseline year (first year in PA schools), determine attainment target year and attainment target composite scale score. For students past their baseline year, determine interim growth target. In both cases, targets are calculated based on the following table:

Growth Target

Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Year 6
>4.9 (attained)
4.0 – 4.9

SS from year 1 subtracted from AT SS divided by 2

SS for 5.0 in the grade of attainment for the EL two years from baseline

3.0 – 3.9

SS from year 1 subtracted from AT SS divided by 3

SS from year 2 subtracted from AT SS divided by 2

SS for 5.0 in the grade of attainment for the EL three years from baseline

2.0 – 2.9

SS from year 1 subtracted from AT SS divided by 4

SS from year 2 subtracted from AT SS divided by 3

SS from year 3 subtracted from AT SS divided by 2

SS for 5.0 in the grade of attainment for the EL four years from baseline

1.0 – 1.9

SS from year 1 subtracted from AT SS divided by 5

SS from year 2 subtracted from AT SS divided by 4

SS from year 3 subtracted from AT SS divided by 3

SS from year 4 subtracted from AT SS divided by 2

SS for 5.0 in the grade of attainment for the EL five years from baseline

*SS= Scaled Score
*AT= Attainment Target

  • Individual targets are based on the amount of growth made, and the remaining growth required, to attain proficiency by the target year.
  • Individual targets are reset each year.
  • Students in their baseline year do not have growth targets and are not included in school calculations.

Step 2: Setting Individual School Improvement Targets for ELP:

  • Every school will be designated a School Target for the percentage of students achieving their individual English Language Proficiency targets; these targets are derived from the same calculation as the statewide goal – the difference between expected 2030 performance and current baseline, divided by the 13 years in between.
  • To derive a baseline, the school must have at least 20 full academic year EL students within two of the years used for the baseline calculations.

Step 3: Calculating school performance for EL targets:
PIMS ACCESS for EL’s assessment results will be the data source for this indicator. The process for scoring students in each school are as follows:

  • First year baseline students are not included in the calculation.
  • Identify students who were enrolled for a full academic year and met their growth target or their target attainment level on or ahead of time. These students will count as 1 in the numerator of the calculation. Students do not count after they exceeded their targeted attainment year.
  • Identify those students who did not make their growth target, or did not attain. These students will count as 0 in the numerator.

The formula for calculating English language proficiency is the following:

Numerator: Number of EL students, enrolled for a full academic year, who met their interim growth target or met their attainment level on or ahead of time.

Denominator: Number of students who are enrolled for a full academic year and have ACCESS scores from the current and previous school years.

How will school performance on EL proficiency be displayed on the Future Ready PA Index?

Performance will be displayed on the Future Ready PA Index to reflect the percentage of students who met their interim growth target or attainment. The English Learner Proficiency Indicator will be measured based on meeting the Statewide interim goal or the individual school improvement target as follows:
BLUE: Meets or Exceeds Statewide 2030 Goal
GREEN: Meets Interim Goal/ Improvement Target
RED: Not Meeting Interim Goal/Improvement Target

In addition to the Blue, Green, and Red Performance designations, year over year performance will be depicted by:

  • An upward ARROW for an increase in performance from the previous year,
  • A solid CIRCLE for maintaining the same performance from the previous year, or
  • A downward ARROW for a decrease in performance from the previous year.

The next Future Ready PA Index e-message will focus on both the Graduation Rate Indicator and Post-Secondary Transition to School, Military, or Work Indicator.

Questions or comments on the PA Future Ready Index can be sent to ra-edfuturereadypa@pa.gov.

Thank you for your continued work with Pennsylvania students and your partnership in implementing the Future Ready PA Index.