Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2006 | I enjoyed reading Marsha Sutton‘s latest article and the comments by SDCOE Trustee Bob Watkins. When looking at California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) pass rates, it is also important to look at dropout rates for the English Language Learners (ELLs). Many ELLs are no longer enrolled in school by time the CAHSEE is administered in high school.

Most districts calculate a four year high school drop out figure which misses the students who drop out in middle school. Ideally, one should look at the enrollment numbers in each sequential year starting in 7th grade to determine a 7th through 12th grade dropout rate. San Diego Unified School District estimates that 42.9 percent of the 7th through 12th grade dropouts are ELLs.

Besides developing better instructional programs for ELLs, the schools need to develop strategies that encourage ELLs to stay in school.

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