SACRAMENTO- Governor Brown has signed AB 1521 authored by Assemblymember Brownley (D- Oak Park) and Assemblymember Luis A. Alejo (D-Salinas).
AB 1521 allows Dual Immersion schools, like Alianza Charter, in Watsonville, to administer the Standards-based Test in Spanish (STS) to all students. Prior to AB 1521, schools were prohibited by law from using primary language assessments, such as the STS, for non-English Learner students. The bill also eliminates several high school level assessments that are not federally mandated in order to streamline the assessment system and generate cost savings to the state.
"A year ago, my office was contacted by Alianza Charter School's Principal, Michael Jones," says Alejo. "Mr. Jones was having difficulty comparing the academic data and achievements across students. Before AB 1521, some students were being tested in English, even though they received instruction for the subject in Spanish. It makes sense to use a Spanish-based test to measure their academic performance in subjects taught in Spanish."
AB 1521 solves the problem Alianza Charter and other Dual Immersion schools are facing by making it possible for a school to offer primary language assessments to all students regardless of their language classification.
There are about 100 bilingual immersion schools in California. Unlike traditional schools, they help students become bilingual by teaching some material in English and the rest in another language, usually Spanish.
AB 1521 is very similar to a bill originally authored by Alejo, AB 409. "By allowing these schools to use primary language assessments, schools will be able to measure student progress and make the necessary changes to achieve academic improvements," says Alejo.
AB 1521 passed through the legislature with bi-partisan support and will take effect on January 1, 2013.
Wednesday, June 5 2013 5:40 PM EDT2013-06-05 21:40:27 GMT
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