Acknowledgements Jennifer O’Day Managing Research Scientist American Institutes for Research Guadalupe Valdes Professor of Education Stanford University Rod Ellis Professor of Applied Languages and Linguistics University of Auckland Margo Gottlieb Lead Developer World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) English language proficiency standards
Demographics There were approximately five million English-language learners enrolled in public schools in the US in the school year, an increase of 65% since 1994 (Batalova, 2006). This represents about 10.1 percent of the total school enrollment. Because immigrants have most of their children after arriving in the US, about 75% of children of immigrant parents are born in the US (Migration Policy Institute).
Demographics The share of children who are first generation immigrants increases in the upper grades In 2000, 16% of children in pre-k were children of immigrants, with 2% foreign born; in grades 6-12, 19% of children were children of immigrants, but the foreign born population represented 7% of the school age population Important to distinguish between these students and ‘long-term ELLs’.
Demographics While most English-language learners are from Spanish- speaking backgrounds there are high concentrations of other first language speakers in certain geographic regions Although the foreign born remain concentrated in certain states, such as California, Texas, and New York, the foreign-born populations in "non-traditional" states, such as North Carolina, Georgia, and Nevada, have experienced considerable and rapid growth.
Diversity of the English-language Learner Subgroup ELLS are a heterogeneous group Ethnic background First language background Socio-economic status Quality of prior schooling Levels of English proficiency
Benefits of Bilingualism Second- language learners bring many first language resources to bear in learning a second language There are cross-language relationships in word reading, spelling, vocabulary, reading comprehension and writing Cross-language relationships are mediated by developmental factors, proficiency levels, and the actual or perceived differences of writing systems between the languages Children instructed bilingually acquire higher levels of literacy in English Bilingualism is a personal, economic and national security asset
Challenges of Acquiring Content Knowledge in a Second Language The same factors related to reading comprehension are prerequisites for both English-language learners (ELLs) and English monolinguals, including ability to read words accurately and rapidly, good language skills, and well-developed stores of world knowledge ELLs need more support in some areas than others, notably in the area of language skills Lack of ability to comprehend grade-level talk and text leads to deficits in world knowledge
Why Common Core Standards for English-language Learners? Prior to standards-based reform, the focus of instruction for English language learners was on acquisition of English language proficiency, not grade-appropriate content area knowledge Important to incorporate ELLs into a standards-based accountability system where there are content standards, aligned instruction and assessments that are the same for all students The codification of this system in NCLB, along with disaggregated data and accountability for improving educational outcomes for all students has led to improved outcomes for ELLs
Why Common Core Standards for English-language Learners? Student achievement data from 50 states indicates that gaps between subgroups has narrowed in most states at the elementary, middle, and high school levels (Center for Education Policy, 2009) Most often gaps narrowed because the achievement of lower-performing subgroups went up rather than because the achievement of higher-performing subjects went down The Latino-White gap narrowed in 79% of instances analyzed; African-American gap narrowed in 77% of the instances Mean scores give a less rosy picture High drop out rates/rigor of state assessments are an g issue
Cautions Development of native-like proficiency in English takes many years and will not be achieved by all ELLS, particularly those that start schooling in the US in later grades Teachers need to recognize that it is possible to achieve standards for reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language without manifesting native-like control of conventions and vocabulary Because ELLs are acquiring language and content concurrently, some students will require additional time and all will require appropriate instructional support and aligned assessments
Ensuring that Educational Systems Meet the Needs of English-language Learners Teachers and personnel at the school and district levels who are well prepared and qualified to support ELLs and also able to take advantage of the strengths and skills they bring to the classroom Coursework that prepares ELLs for postsecondary education or the workplace yet that is made comprehensible for students learning content in a second language through specific pedagogical techniques and additional resources
Ensuring that Educational Systems Meet the Needs of English-language Learners Instruction that develops foundational skills in English that enable ELLs to participate fully in grade-level coursework Well-designed opportunities for classroom discourse and interaction to enable ELLs to develop communicative strengths in language arts Speakers of English who know the language well enough to provide the ELLs with models and support See next slide Ongoing assessment and feedback to guide learning.
Ensuring that Educational Systems Meet the Needs of English-language Learners Ongoing residential and school segregation by race, ethnicity, and income 53% or ELLs attend elementary and secondary schools where over 30% of their classmates are ELLs 57 % of English proficient students attend schools with less than 1%
Ensuring the Common Core Standards Meet the Needs of All Students, Including ELLs The ability of a student to monitor his or her understanding and expression and to use appropriate resources to enhance both is a critical part of independence across all language domains. Recommended Addition: They use a wide range of resources and strategies to develop competence in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language. Elaboration: Students monitor their comprehension and communication and utilize appropriate resources to enhance both. Resources might include reference materials; peers; teachers; knowledge about English language forms, functions, and genre structures--and for ELLs, first language knowledge and skills.
Ensuring the Common Core Standards Meet the Needs of All Students, including ELLs Monitoring and using appropriate resources is also related to achieving precision in speaking and writing Recommended addition: Students are mindful of the impact of specific words, phrases, and details, and they consider what would be achieved by different choices. Students pay especially close attention when precision matters most, such as in the case of reviewing significant data, making important distinctions, or analyzing a key moment in the action of a play or novel. Additionally, they assess the degree to which their speaking and writing differs from standard English and engage in activities to improve their oral and written communication.
Ensuring the Common Core Standards Meet the Needs of All Students, including ELLs Monitoring and using appropriate resources is also related to developing full proficiency in speaking & listening and language Recommended addition: They negotiate meaning in an interactive context, for example by requesting clarification if something is confusing or asking for confirmation that they have been understood.
Ensuring the Common Core Standards Meet the Needs of All Students, Including ELLs Responding appropriately to text, task, purpose, and audience is also important across all language domains. The standards should consistently relate skill and communication to context. Recommended Addition: Align reading method with reader’s purpose and nature of the text. Recommended Addition: Adapt writing to a variety of contexts and communicative tasks.
Ensuring the Common Core Standards Meet the Needs of All Students, Including ELLS Reading literature representative of a variety of cultures is very important, but it is important for students to have the ability to communicate with people from diverse backgrounds. Recommended Addition: They come to understand and are able to communicate effectively with people from other perspectives and cultures.
Ensuring the Common Core Standards Meet the Needs of All Students, Including ELLS Elaboration: Students appreciate that the twenty-first- century classroom and workplace are diverse settings in which people from often widely divergent backgrounds, including different cultures, experiences, and perspectives must learn and work together. They actively seek to understand other perspectives and cultures through reading and listening. They evaluate other points of view critically and constructively. Through reading great classic and contemporary works of literature representative of a variety of cultures and world views, students can vicariously inhabit worlds and experiences much different than their own. They communicate effectively with people of varied backgrounds.
Ensuring the Common Core Standards Meet the Needs of All Students, Including ELLs It is important that the standards explicitly reference an important aspects of language which has to do with functions, particularly pragmatic and language functions that are critical for academic success. For English learners and many traditionally underserved students, these aspects of language may need to be more explicitly identified in the standards. Suggested addition-Use pragmatic and linguistic knowledge to meet the functional demands of writing and speaking across the content areas.
Ensuring the Common Core Standards Meet the Needs of All Students, Including ELLs Elaboration: Pragmatic knowledge is knowledge of language use in context (e.g. knowledge about the status and purpose of the speaker). Linguistic knowledge includes among other things understanding how meaning is expressed in clause structures and understanding the functional demands of writing and speaking such as formulating questions, comparing/contrasting, classifying/categorizing, summarizing, drawing conclusions, describing people, places, things and events, sequencing events, explaining processes, identifying and explaining cause-and-effect, making inferences and predictions, taking a position and supporting it, hypothesizing, and evaluating.
Ensuring the Common Core Standards Meet the Needs of All Students, including ELLs The standard for vocabulary should specify that the vocabulary include general academic vocabulary that appears frequently in grade-level texts as well as discipline specific vocabulary which may be less frequent across texts; include phrases as well as words; and be acquired through direct instruction and oral communication as well as reading and responding. Recommended addition: Use grade-appropriate high frequency general academic vocabulary and domain- specific words and phrases purposefully acquired as well as gained through oral communication, reading and responding to texts.
Next Steps In Creating Supportive Systems ELL expertise represented at all levels of governance (federal level, states, districts, schools) Collaboration across divisions (funding streams) Valid and reliable assessments Aligned, high quality instructional materials Aligned, high quality professional development
Next Steps In Creating Supportive Systems Ongoing research Evaluation research that identifies obstacles and promising practices Research that supports standards-based reform Valid and reliable assessments Knowledge about the expected growth of different subgroups of students in high-quality schools Research-based instructional practices and high quality curriculum 51 experimental studies conducted between 1980 and 2009 compared with 450 that had been conducted through 2000 for monolingual English speakers
Next Steps In Creating Supportive Systems Determining which policies would ensure that all children meet high standards. Determining how to get these policies put in place.