Systematic ELD Schools Are Accelerating English Learner Outcomes

What is the relationship between English learner achievement and E.L. Achieve’s capacity-building model? To answer this question, we applied an Implementation Rigor Index and compared student achievement data across two school years. In five of our Elementary Systematic ELD partner districts, we found a remarkable similarity between districts' engagement in the capacity-building model and the acceleration of their English learners in English Language Arts. Learn more about the outcomes in this summary:

 Executive Summary: Systematic ELD Schools Are Accelerating English Learner Outcomes

Accelerating Outcomes SysELD Admin Packet 2.28.50 PM 


Impact on English Learner Student Achievement

There are many factors that contribute to the success of a professional development initiative. The same is true for Systematic ELD and Constructing Meaning. The impact on English learner achievement is greatly affected by the quality of implementation and level of system support. 

Many indicators have been collected from our partner districts implementing Systematic ELD and/or Constructing Meaning regarding results for increasing ELL achievement.

Research and Results for Systematic ELD Instructional Units

Springdale Public Schools: Students' English proficiency improves at Systematic ELD schools

Springdale Public Schools began implementing Systematic ELD during the 2015-16 school year. The district has reported a large increase in the number of students eligible to exit English learner services. Additionally, the students at the first Systematic ELD schools have reached higher levels of proficiency compared to students in schools who have not yet begun using Systematic ELD Units.

Superintendent Builds Bridges to New Immigrant Communities

“It doesn’t make a bit of difference to us whether a child comes from across the street or across the ocean,” says Jim Rollins, who has helped transform the Springdale, Arkansas district to provide quality education to thousands of immigrants. “When they get to our schoolhouse door, they’re one thing. They’re our children.”

Education Week – Leaders to Learn From

Growing Success for English Learners in Oregon School Districts

The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) launched a Systematic ELD initiative in August 2005. Many districts in the state have taken part in the ODE’s initiative and have been implementing Systematic ELD.

In Spring 2008, when ODE released AMAOs for all its districts, a reporter from The Oregonian newspaper did an informal investigation into why some districts made progress in EL student achievement while others did not. In an article published on March 6, 2008, the reporter found that the districts making progress were implementing Systematic ELD. While the program is not named in the article, the ODE has confirmed that the approach referred to in the article is Systematic ELD.


Yet even in 2008, 40% of Oregon’s English learners could be found in their high schools, continuing to require language support after many years of schooling.

In 2014, that number was a much lower 25% of the population, even as English learner enrollment continued to increase.

On February 21, 2015, The Oregonian reported: “Over the past six years, Oregon schools have become dramatically more successful at helping students from other language backgrounds master English within five or six years. ... Oregon’s director of English learner programs, Kim Miller, says the state’s improved results stem from closer monitoring and better instruction. A significant amount of that success, Miller says, can be chalked up to Dutro and her firm [E.L. Achieve], which has led massive amounts of training for superintendents, principals and teachers in many Oregon school districts going back as far as 2006."

Click here to download the full article from The Oregonian.

Learn more in this related article from Education News.

Success Stories

lower yukon sd

Fullerton School District

Garden Grove School District

Milpitas Unified School District, Burnett Middle School

San Jose Mercury News, October 5, 2011

In 2006, the growth Academic Performance Index for English learners was 799. The 2011 test scores for the same group revealed an increase of 74 points to 873.

“... the purpose of systematic ELD instruction is really oral language and having them carry the oral language into writing and speaking and listening,” said Breanne Romano, who teaches Burnett’s intermediate class. She was selected to help with the launching and coordinating of English language development throughout the district.

“The impact with the implementation of Systematic ELD is evident in this year’s reclassification numbers. The middle school site administrator has done an excellent job of supporting the teachers and keeping ELD on the front burner of the school.” 

Here are the reclassification numbers over a five-year period:

elachieve results  milpitas graph

Reynolds School District, Spring 2010

Reynolds School District in Oregon has some very exciting news to share regarding English learner state assessent results. Lisa Madzelan, Secondary English Language Development Teacher on Special Assignment, says “Systematic ELD was instrumental in this success.”

Reynolds High School established an intervention class for all long-term ELLs. The criteria for the class were as follows:

1) Students had to have been in ELD seven years or more.
2) Students had not shown measurable growth in ELPA (Oregon’s state assessment system).

At the beginning of the year, all students were assessed on E.L. Achieve’s Gap Finder for secondary long-term English learners. Data was analyzed using Excel, and based on the results, areas of weakness were identified. Instruction was then focused on forms that students were most commonly missing, taught through identified functions that would best help fill their gaps. 

The high school had amazing growth. Following was the growth for English learners during 2009-10:

  9th grade

15 point gains

10th grade

14 point gains

11th grade

14 point gains

12th grade

16 point gains

There were approximately 60 students in the transitions class. Fifty of them either exited or were within a couple points of exit.

“Thanks to the E.L. Achieve team for all of the work you have done to help ELLs succeed. We know this success would not be possible without Systematic ELD.”


School Makes Its Mark - Morgan Hill Times, April 22, 2010

Article: Landmark School in Pájaro Valley Unified School District (Watsonville, CA) is leading the discussion in utilizing the best practices from many sources, curricula, studies, and books on helping schools achieve.  

Principal, Jennifer Wildman, Spring 2008:

“... I wanted to share this with you. It looks like we met our AMAO objectives again at Landmark, which is great because the district as a whole is not meeting its targets. But the best news is our first grade team’s scores. They were working with Carolyn all last year to plan for ELD using Systematic ELD. They worked really hard, met almost weekly and really kept track of their objectives and their students’ progress. Look at the difference it made!” 

First grade team results

School results

AMAO #1 - 72.26%

AMAO #1 - 50.2%

AMAO #2 - 68.3%

AMAO #2 - 46.2%

“Thanks so much for supporting our kids in ELD! This is great data for us as everyone on our staff is in the middle of training for Systematic ELD this year. It is wonderful to see it in numbers ... proof that the right approach, including careful grouping, leveling, planning and collaboration, works. Yippee!!!”

In Spring 2008, E.L. Achieve conducted an analysis of the California districts implementing Systematic ELD over the previous three years. The table below shows the percentage of California districts meeting Title III AMAO-3 each year. The table includes new districts each year, beginning with 18 districts in 2004-05 and increasing to 37 districts in 2006-07. The percentage of English learners meeting AMAO 3, Reading/Language Arts and Mathematics proficiency, has increased steadily each year. In 2004-05, only 22% of CA districts implementing Systematic ELD met AMAO 3, increasing to 57% in 2006-07. AMAO 3 has been the most challenging for districts to meet, yet it is the main goal of English learner programs to meet grade-level proficiency in the content areas.

California Districts Implementing Systematic ELD

AMAO - Annual Measurable Achievement Objective as required by Title III of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).


*Note: In 2006-07, the California English Language Development Test assessment was changed, resulting in overall statewide decreases in the assessed level of English language proficiency. This table represents the AMAO results of CA districts currently implementing Systematic ELD. To be included on this chart, districts provided the 20-hour Systematic ELD Institute during the school year prior to the 2007 CELDT and CST (California Standards Test) administrations.

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