Most 11th grade students who took the SATs in Rhode Island and speak English as a second language, aren’t considered "college or career ready," according to scores released this week

In both math and English, only 2 percent of all multilingual learners in the state scored high enough on the SATs last year to meet or exceed standards. The number that did was less than ten. The actual number was not released to ensure confidentiality of the students.

For English scores, the number actually decreased one percentage point. 

“We have a problem working with this population and ensuring that they have success,” State Education Commissioner Angelica Infante-Green said of the scores.  

“We need to figure out what we’re doing, whether we have experts teaching our kids, and what are we teaching our kids," she said.

Starting in the 2017-18 school year, the state department of education began administering the SAT to all 11th grade students. The test replaced the PARCC test, and is now used in the state’s assessment of high schools.

Students learning English are supposed be afforded accommodations for the SATs, including extended test-taking time, according to RIDE.

Students who speak English as a second language, are a fast growing population in schools across Rhode Island. They make up a third of students in Providence. But across Rhode Island, educating those students has proved a challenge for schools. Multilingual learners were also among the lowest achieving group on the state standardized test RICAS.

A recent agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice was supposed to rectify numerous failings teaching multilingual learners in Providence. However, a report by the Council of Great City Schools, also released this week, found many problems persisted, including the need for trained English as second language teachers.

For all students in Rhode Island, about half are meeting or exceeding expectations on the SATs for English, only about a third are for math. And Infante Green says that is not acceptable.

“At the end of the day, the scores are flat, they have not improved,” Infante-Green said. “We need to put a plan together to move forward. So for me the most troubling part is the fact that we don’t have plan when these scores come out of what the next steps are. The sense of urgency is not there.”

Infante-Green is now requiring school districts to come up with plans to improve the scores.