SAT scores not looking good for students who speak English as a second language

A recent article from the Public’s Radio reported a dismal reality concerning English Language Learners (ELLs) from the state of Rhode Island. The vast majority of eleventh-grade students who took the SAT, the official state assessment instrument, found that students in Rhode Island who speak English as a second language fail to meet what one might call “college or career ready” standards. In fact, for the entire state about ten thousand students took the test, but less than 10 total current ELLS were counted in the state as having met or exceeded expectations, in both math and English.

What does that mean? According to the article, in the city of Providence alone ELLs make up roughly a third of students, and across the entire state the majority (nearly 80%) of ELLs are Hispanic or of Spanish-speaking decent, according to a 2017 report. This means that many Hispanic students from our very own communities are failing to meet eleventh-grade expectations, which in turn means that college entry, and more – college completion, seems more like a dream rather than what we hope for it to be: a reality.

We are thankful for the tests and instruments states like Rhode Island have in place to measure student proficiency. However, the challenge will continue to be to (1) maintain college-career ready standards for ELLs and (2) allocate and provide adequate resources to ensure the average student from the ELL population meets or exceeds those standards.

I encourage you to check out to get a glimpse of how your state may be addressing the educational needs of the ELL community and also to join with the FE Coalition in praying for wisdom for our states’ and nation’s leaders as they set the bar and course for the future of education in America. We must do better – for the glory of God.

Forward and higher in Christ,

Rev. Girien R. Salazar
Executive Director, FE Coalition