« Education Department to Study ELLs with Disabilities | Main | Assessment Group Revises English-Language-Development Standards »

Next Generation Science Standards and English-Learners

One of the chief concerns about the development of the Common Core State Standards is that the needs of English-language learners were not given much consideration, or even were overlooked, as the standards writers set about their work drafting new academic goals in English/language arts and mathematics. Now, of course, there are multiple efforts underway to develop resources, strategies, and materials to ensure that ELLs will have the same access to the new content standards, regardless of their language proficiency.

But with the still-in-draft-form "next generation" science standards—which are a separate effort from the common core—the needs of ELLs have at least two obvious representatives among the 41 K-12 educators and university professors who make up the writing team.

Okhee Lee, an education professor at New York University and probably the best-known expert on ELLs and science, is on the team. As is Emily Miller, a 2nd and 3rd grade ESL and bilingual resource teacher at Hawthorne Elementary School in Madison, Wis.

Lee is also a member of the Understanding Language team at Stanford University, which is in the midst of creating a number of free resources for teaching the math and reading common core standards and the new science standards to English-learners.

She and two other colleagues—including Helen Quinn, a professor emeritus of physics at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center at Stanford University and the chair of the National Research Council panel which developed the conceptual framework which guided the writers of the science standards—have published a paper that discusses the challenges and opportunities for English-learners in the new standards in science.

The draft of the common science standards—on which 26 "lead states" are collaborating —is available for review and will be open to a second round of public comment later this year, with early 2013 likely to be the release date for the final version. State adoption, as it was in the common core, is voluntary.

To hear Professor Lee discussing the new science standards and what they will demand of science teachers working with English-learners, check out this presentation she gave to New York City teachers in early May.

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Follow This Blog


Most Viewed on Education Week



Recent Comments

  • Charles: ELLs in our state ARE required to take State standardized read more
  • Melissa: Maybe I'm just becoming jaded, but this feels to me read more
  • Anonymous: Are you kidding me....UNO is an organizaion that literally destroys read more
  • Meg Baker: Are any schools using ACCESS scores for purposes other than read more
  • Dr. Mendoza: This is great news i must say. Hopefully this DREAM read more