In fiscal year 2008, Arizona adopted Structured English Immersion (SEI) models to teach English Language Learner (ELL) students. These models require students to receive 4 hours daily of English language development. Auditors found that almost two-thirds of the school districts and charter schools (districts) reviewed had not fully implemented the SEI models by fiscal year 2010. The Arizona Department of Education monitors implementation, and given the level of noncompliance, it should exercise more oversight, such as reporting noncompliant districts to the State Board of Education for possible withholding of SEI funds.
The percentage of ELL students attaining English proficiency has risen since the State adopted the SEI models, but the models' effect on these results remains unknown. The state-wide rate for reclassifying students as English proficient increased from 22 percent in fiscal year 2008 to 31 percent in fiscal year 2010. However, this early change in the reclassification rate could be explained by factors other than the models, such as additional funding for state-wide programs and greater percentages of students at the intermediate proficiency level who are more likely to reclassify than students at lower proficiency levels. Also, considerable data about program implementation and student outcomes is unavailable or unreliable, and districts' partial implementation of the SEI models limits the extent to which before-and-after comparisons can be made. Determining the impact of the SEI models will require both improvements in measurement and additional time to identify trends in factors affecting reclassification.