09:27 AM

MNPS Continuing to Focus on English Learner Proficiency

State’s WIDA assessment shows district making significant progress in improving reading, writing, listening and speaking skills

Nashville, Tennessee – (October 5, 2018) – This week, Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools received results of the 2018 WIDA (World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment) ACCESS assessment for English Learners from the Tennessee Department of Education. Results provide further confirmation that the District’s continuing focus on providing English Learners exemplary instruction is having a positive impact on these students’ learning outcomes.

The percent of English Learner students meeting or exceeding growth standard results increased with 47 percent of MNPS students meeting or exceeding their expected growth. This was an improvement from 42.5 percent in 2017. The district also surpassed the 2018 Annual Measurable Objective, or target, of 46.1 percent that was established by the state for MNPS. This improvement of 4.5 percentage points is equivalent to the statewide progress for English proficiency. Further, MNPS saw 14.7 percent of EL students exit service, which is a slight change over 2017 when 14.5 percent exited.

“MNPS recognizes that it takes all stakeholders to assist English Learners to acquire English and master rigorous academic standards,” said MNPS Director of Schools Dr. Shawn Joseph. “The Office of English Learners is strategically collaborating with families, teachers, school leaders, community members and Central Office departments so that all stakeholders can contribute to the social, emotional, cultural, academic and linguistic successes of our English Learners.”

MNPS serves 13,904 students identified as English Learners, the largest English Learner student population in Tennessee. These students represent 16 percent of MNPS students, and speak more than 120 languages. This year MNPS increased funding for EL support by

$2.5 million. The additional funding to EL students and their families has allowed for the expansion of supplemental EL teachers, after-school and summer programming, English classes for parents, and language and literacy software.

The WIDA ACCESS results confirmed evidence of progress shown in the 2018 TN Ready data for students identified as Limited English Proficient (LEP). The district narrowed the gap in achievement of students in grades 3-8 with their peers in every tested subject.

English Learners (ELs) are acquiring English as a second language while learning grade- level content alongside their peers. Every English Learner receives daily English language

development instruction along with supplemental language supports and accommodations in the general education classroom.

All MNPS teachers received training on standards and strategies for English Learners at the beginning of this school year and schools are also implementing an Individual Learning Plan for every English Learner that includes current language levels along with scaffolds and language goals.

“MNPS is continuing its dedicated focus on providing our English Learners exemplary instruction from EL teachers and general teachers,” said MNPS Interim Executive Director of English Learners Molly Stovall Hegwood. “We are working with our teachers to ensure they have the tools and strategies to help English Learners excel in all classes.”

Under U.S. federal requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), all states are required to annually assess and monitor the proficiency of English learner students.

Tennessee uses the WIDA ACCESS assessment to measure English learners' progress in reading, writing, listening and speaking. More information about the assessment may be found on the WIDA website.


Metro Nashville Public Schools is one of the nation’s top 50 largest school districts, preparing 88,000 students for higher education, work and life. With the goal of being the first choice for Nashville families, Metro Schools is committed to #ExceedingGreatExpectations with the mission of delivering a great public education to every student, every day. The district is earning a national reputation for urban school reform, social and emotional learning and rising academic achievement. The governing body for Metro Schools is the Metropolitan Nashville Board of Public Education, a nine-member elected body. For more information, visit MNPS.org, or follow us on Twitter @MetroSchools or Facebook /MetroSchools.