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California Board Adopts New English-Language Proficiency Standards

The state board of education in California earlier this month gave its final stamp of approval to new English-language development standards that directly connect to the language demands in the Common Core State Standards.

California—where roughly 25 percent of students in public schools are English-language learners—began the process of revamping its English-language proficiency standards late last year and may well provide the blueprint for other states that must also revise their standards to connect with the common core. This may be particularly true among a group of 13 states known as ELPA21 that are working together to develop a new English-language proficiency assessment. California, as well as Florida, are part of that group.

In addition to the grade-by-grade standards, you can read California's "proficiency level descriptors," which give an overview of the phases of English-language development that ELLs are expected to go through as they learn the language. The descriptors detail the knowledge, skills, and abilities that ELLs need at all of the stages of development and exactly what they need to demonstrate as they exit each of three proficiency levels: emerging, expanding, and bridging.

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