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Test monitors Michigan students' English skills
Source: AP - AP Wire Service

LANSING, Mich. (AP): Some Michigan students from non-English-speaking homes are taking tests this month to determine how they are progressing with their new language.

The English Language Proficiency Assessment, or ELPA, is Michigan's first statewide test of English proficiency. It is required by the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

About 58,000 students are scheduled to be tested by April 28.

Melissa Lazarin, an education reform analyst with the Latino civil rights group National Council of La Raza, said the federal law is helping children struggling to learn English get the attention they need.

``One of the most beneficial things it's done, it's really put a spotlight on these kids _ kids who traditionally have been ignored or neglected,'' she told Booth Newspapers for a Wednesday story.

About 40 percent of English language learners in Michigan speak Spanish and 25 percent speak Arabic. The rest speak more than 100 other languages.

The testing is supposed to be completed by the end of the month, but some districts are worried about meeting the deadline.

The delivery of testing materials has been delayed. Also, districts with more non-English-speaking students may have a tougher time squeezing in time to administer the test.

Martin Ackley, spokesman for the state Department of Education, said districts should push ahead with the testing that can be done with the materials in hand, and the deadline will be extended if needed.





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