English language learners in border state experience accelerated literacy growth

Texas district offers ELLs differentiated literacy instruction using Achieve3000
By: | Issue: October, 2019 | Case Study
September 30, 2019

When Ysleta ISD set out to redefine its program for English language learners four years ago, the El Paso, Texas, district looked to Achieve3000, known for differentiated instruction and flexibility.

Since the platform was implemented in 2015-16, ELLs in the district have significantly improved literacy, as demonstrated by increased Lexile scores, better performance on their end-of-year state assessments and faster integration with the school’s general course of study.

“Achieve3000 provides extra literacy support we didn’t have and couldn’t create because we lacked the manpower,” says Louisa Aguirre-Baeza, director of academic language programs at Ysleta ISD, where over a quarter of the 42,500 students are identified as ELLs.

Built-in flexibility

About 2,100 students in grades 6 through 12 use Achieve3000, which measures and tracks changes in Lexile scores, ensuring students always receive the appropriate instruction for their literacy level. The standards-aligned platform also includes learning scaffolds and audio support. But Aguirre-Baeza’s favorite feature is the built-in flexibility, which her district maximizes by using 90-minute blocks.

“Achieve3000 provides extra literacy support that we didn’t have and we couldn’t create because we lacked the manpower.”

“There’s not always a good place to stop after 45 minutes of a traditional class period,” she says. “Having the extra reading support block allows us to use the program as a balanced literacy station, intervention, bell ringer stretch article, teacher-led discussion or individualized computer time.”

Middle school gains

In 2017-18, students in grades 6 through 8 saw these improvements:

  • Lexile® measures increased by 222L, over 2 1/2 times the expected growth of 82L, when students completed at least one lesson per week with an average first-try score of at least 75% on the embedded assessment.
  • The number of ELLs considered “far below grade level” decreased by 12%.
  • Eighth-graders demonstrated the largest average growth of 120L (623L compared with 503L).

State test success

Also, 79% of middle schoolers who completed over 80 activities with an average score of 75% or higher on their first try passed the 2018 State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness English Language Arts (STAAR ELA) exam, compared with 45% overall.

On average, all students in grades 6 through 8 using Achieve3000 gained 69 scale points on the STAAR ELA. When students completed at least 80 multiple-choice activities and had an average score of at least 75% on their first try, they gained 91 scale points.

Says Aguirre-Baeza: “Achieve3000 is a bridge between what the state wants content-wise and what our kids need in language and literacy development.”

For more information, please visit achieve3000.com

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