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Understanding the ACCESS for ELLs®

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Presentation on theme: "Understanding the ACCESS for ELLs®"— Presentation transcript:


2 Understanding the ACCESS for ELLs®
Dr. Tim Boals Executive Director of WIDA Dr. Margo Gottlieb WIDA Lead Developer Dr. Dorry Kenyon Director of Language Testing: Center for Applied Linguistics

3 The WIDA Consortium Wisconsin Delaware (2002)
District of Columbia Rhode Island, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Illinois (2003) Alabama (2004); New Jersey, Georgia (2005); Oklahoma, Kentucky (2006), North Dakota, Pennsylvania (2007) WIDA states represent 450,000 English Language Learners.

4 Title III Requirements of the “No Child Left Behind Act”
Title III: English Language Proficiency standards linked to state academic content standards. Titles I & III: All K-12 English language learners must be assessed annually in the domains of listening, speaking, reading, and writing (with a derived comprehension score). Each state must set ‘Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives’ AMAO’s: Annual increases in the # or % of S’s making progress in learning English Annual increases in the # of % of students attaining proficiency according to an assessment of ELP Making adequate yearly progress on academic assessments

5 Language vs. Content Language proficiency revolves around the language associated with the content areas Academic achievement reflects the knowledge and skills associated with the content. WIDA ELP standards and the ACCESS for ELLs® focus on academic language.

6 WIDA Approach: ELP testing must…
Be aligned to ELP Standards Address academic language Be linked to classroom instruction Encourage content-based instruction and professional development Provide informative results Meet legal requirements

7 Presentations Today Margo: Alignment of Standards as a Source of Validity for ACCESS for ELLs® Dorry: ACCESS for ELLs® Scores, Reliability and Validity Tim: Understanding for the District/School Levels

8 Things to consider when examining and interpreting ACCESS for ELLs® results
Be familiar with the ELP Performance Definitions Target certain reports to specific stakeholders Consider summarizing or consolidating the suggestions for using the information from each score report according to target audience. Look at different configurations of data in the reports for individual and group placement or to develop a plan for organizing services for English Language Learners for the coming school year.

9 Types of Reports Individual student Parent/Guardian Report
Individual student Teacher Report Student Roster School Frequency Report by grade District Frequency Report by grade Electronic data (available from MetriTech)

10 Parent/Guardian Report


12 Programmatic Implications Beginners (levels 1 – 2) Entry 5 or 6 more years of support
Survival English briefly Content-based strategies and L1 Scaffolding in programs and schoolwide Graphic support Peer support Supplemental and modified materials

13 Mid-Level Scores (levels 2 - 3) 2 or 3 More Years Support
Teaching language through content (grade level standards) Long term commitment Oral language vs. literacy development Typical student vs. Japanese student example L1 where feasible Individual students have differing profiles and need support strategies that match those profiles. A student with good reading and writing skills (some times seen in late arrivals who studied English in school settings) need more work with listening and speaking, whereas most students will likely have weaker reading and writing skills. In both cases, it is still helpful to match the support to the language needs of the classroom. Balanced, long term approaches that focus on grade level standards but delivered using strategies that increase student comprehension and involvement work best.

14 Programmatic Implications – High Scores (above level 4) Monitoring or Targeted Support
Exit? Additional evidence? Weak domain (e.g., writing) Weak standard area Content language support Even though WIDA would contend that the ACCESS for ELLstm is more valid and reliable than previous generation of ELP assessments, high stakes decisions should never be based solely on the results of a single instrument. Therefore, WIDA recommends that program exit decisions include evidence of ELLs being able to handle difficult academic language within classroom contexts. Certain students may be ready for exit prior to level 6 but may perhaps require only minimal targeted assistance in an academic class or with a domain like writing.

15 Comprehensive School Reform for ELLs (Education Alliance, Brown University, 2003)
Schools must understand basic characteristics of ELLs (replace myths) Long term support for content and language development Grade level standards but varied and comprehensible materials and approaches (scaffolding)

16 Comprehensive School Reform for ELLs (Education Alliance, Brown University, 2003)
Everyone has a role: State: More tools, benchmarks, PD, (leadership) District/School: Admin support and schoolwide staff development (access at grade level) Teachers across programs: working together (comprehensibility)

17 Pitfalls of traditional, ineffective programs
Program focuses most of the staff time on students at English proficiency levels Very little time left to help students at levels 3 – 4 and beyond. Program is designed as an early-exit, “intensive English” program. The only practical way for most programs to spend more time with intermediate or higher proficiency level ELLs is to spend less time with beginners. This may seem counterintuitive. However, if ELL support staff and administrators work to build the capacity of mainstream educators to provide more meaningful instruction to the beginners, this frees support staff time to ensure that students at level 3 and higher do not stall in their journey to full proficiency. Research demonstrates that it is the last half of the journey to full English proficiency where most ELLs stall, resulting in either serious underachievement at high school or dropout. When we look at dropout and underachievement rates combined, it is not uncommon to see school systems where ELL academic success is the exception rather than the rule.

18 Pitfalls of traditional, ineffective programs (2)
School does not recognize in a consistent, meaningful way the native language or culture that the student brings to the classroom. Few teachers understand the issues and needs of ELLs. Most teachers are under the mistaken impression that the program will “fix” the student in two years and that they do not need to address the issue.

19 Pitfalls of traditional, ineffective programs (3)
Program does teach some academic content, but mostly remedial, or basic skills. Program attempts to align curriculum with grade level standards, but largely fails to do so because common planning time doesn’t exist (or any structure to promote collaboration). Tim Boals

20 The solution to English Language Learner underachievement will come, in great part, from better mainstream classroom instruction. ELL support teachers must begin to see their role as supporting mainstream teachers as much as supporting English language learners. (Adapted by Tim Boals, based on National Research Council conclusions, 1997)

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