The authors discuss the challenges of assessing English Language Proficiency (ELP) in ways that are aligned with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), and then make recommendations for developers of the next generation ELP assessments.They identify challenges around three sets of related issues: Identifying language knowledge and skills in the CCSS. Defining alignment in the context of ELP assessments. Articulating a new ELP standards framework that can guide states in their development of next generation ELP standards and assessments.
Stanford University School of Education: Understanding Language
This paper discusses the affordances and challenges of bilingual instruction programs in light of the new Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards. The authors argue that bilingual education has an important role to play because it has always placed language and literacy development at the core of instruction. Bilingual education that is high quality and that promotes full development of two languages leverages the native language of students in service of better English. It also provides an ideal context in which to address the demands content and language demands of the New Standards by allowing students to use all their language and cultural resources.
This paper argues that the heightened expectations around language in the new standards pose major challenges for all students who engage with rich academic content, especially English Language Learners (ELLs). The authors make five policy recommendations designed to give ELLs the educational supports necessary to meet the new higher standards.
The population of English Language Learners is enormously diverse. Teachers face the complex challenge of providing them with opportunities that allow them to attain the Common Core State Standards despite their various needs and abilities. The authors offer and discuss five principles of instruction for ELLs, which can be enacted within classrooms in ways that are responsive to individual students.
This paper outlines and addresses fundamental issues in assessing English Language Learners (ELLs), including "construct-irrelevant" factors that add unnecessary difficulty to tests, as well as uses of summative versus formative assessment. The paper also highlights assessment innovations relevant to ELLs, discussing their promise and potential pitfalls.The authors suggest ways to strengthen connections between the assessment consortia (PARCC and SBAC) and the work of next generation ELP assessment developers. In addition, they provide recommendations for policy makers toward building a more coherent overall assessment system for ELLs.
This paper highlights challenges and opportunities as English Language Learners engage with the Next Generation Science Standards. These new standards represent a major shift in science instruction, toward an explicit focus on scientific sense-making, language use, and scientific practices. These practices also place significance on developing explanations and argumentation from evidence as well as on language learning opportunities. The authors discuss in detail how four core science and engineering practices provide opportunities for ELLs: Developing and using models. Developing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering). Engaging in argument from evidence. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information.
This paper points out three different ways that language is involved in the standards: language requirements in the content standards, English language arts standards, and language-convention-specific standards. It calls for a thoughtful integration of these three dimensions.The authors also frame language in the context of the Common Core, focusing on what students can accomplish using language rather than on whether or how students use specific language features. This broader definition encourages the development of cognitive, linguistic, and affective strengths in ELLs and gives students the opportunity to take valuable actions toward academic success.
This paper makes recommendations for developing mathematics instruction for English Language Learners (ELLs) aligned with the Common Core State Standards. The recommendations can guide teachers, curriculum developers, and teacher educators as they develop their own ways of supporting mathematical reasoning and sense-making for ELLs.Some instructional recommendations discussed in the paper include: Focus on ELL students' mathematical reasoning, not the correctness of their mathematical language use. Shift to a focus on mathematical discourse practices; move away from simplified views of language. Support ELL students as they engage in complex mathematical language. Use ELL students' language and experiences as resources. Provide professional development to enhance teachers' awareness of ways to support ELs as they develop both language and mathematical knowledge.
This paper recommends strategies for cultivatingâ€”as opposed to centrally planningâ€”an online community that supports the goals of Understanding Language, beginning with the assumption that technological development should serve the needs and shared goals of community members.While building an online community, the authors propose monitoring four dimensions of group healthâ€”remuneration, influence, belonging, and significanceâ€”and suggest practical strategies for cultivating each
This unit shows instructional approaches that are likely to help ELLs meet new standards in English Language Arts. Built around a set of famous persuasive speeches, the unit supports students in reading a range of complex texts. It invites them to write and speak in a variety of ways and for different audiences and purposes. Students engage in close reading of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, Martin Luther King, Jr.'s I Have a Dream speech, Aristotleí˘äĺä˘s Three Appeals, Robert Kennedyí˘äĺä˘s On the Assassination of Martin Luther King, and George Wallaceí˘äĺä˘s The Civil Rights Movement: Fraud, Sham, and Hoax, Barbara Jordaní˘äĺä˘s All Together Now. The five lesson culminate with student's constructing their own persuasive texts.
This paper opens a larger conversation about what must be done to realize opportunities presented by the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts and the literacy standards in other subject areas. It emphasizes the simultaneous challenges and opportunities for ELLs.The paper emphasizes that texts are approached differently for different purposes. Students need opportunities to approach texts with these varied purposes in mind. It also highlights how ELLs may be well served by opportunities to explore and justify their own textual hypotheses, even if their initial interpretations diverge from those of the teacher.
Even among educators who have been successful at educating ELLs under traditional supports and programs, the level of knowledge required to do the job successfully has increased. This paper considers more aggressive and creative capacity-building initiatives that strengthen and integrate the disciplinary teaching strategies with literacy and language development strategies. The authors discuss the value and implications of new partnerships, of structures for collaboration, and of time dedicated to engaging experts from different fields in the design and delivery of teacher preparation and professional development.
This paper addresses the implications, for ELLs, of the new standard's requirement that students be able to read and understand complex, informationally dense texts. The authors discuss the types of supports that learners need in order to work with complex texts. They also provide a sample of what academic discourse involves, using an excerpt from Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Letter from Birmingham Jail. They demonstrate how English learners can be provided with strategies for accessing complex texts, such as closely examining one sentence at a time. The authors argue that instruction must go beyond vocabulary and should begin with an examination of our beliefs about language, literacy and learning.
This paper highlights key findings of the socioculturally-focused â€œNew Literacy studiesâ€ and argues that literacy practices derive their vitality from curricula and activities that connect to learners' backgrounds and cultures. The authors show how communities can capitalize on the social nature of learning to help young people experience literacy as purposeful and themselves as skillful and confident makers of meaning.Three common themes found across successful learning experiences are: Building upon learnersâ€™ existing knowledge and cultural practices. Demystifying academic language and literacy. Situating literacy learning within a larger motivating activity and/or purpose.