A recent post on this blog, "What's an English-Proficiency Score Good For?," has prompted some interesting comments about how ACCESS for ELLs, the English-language proficiency test created by the World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment consortium, or WIDA, is working out on the ground. The test is being used by 19 states and is thus the most commonly used English-proficiency test in the nation. The post reports on a study showing that reading and writing scores for ELLs on the English-proficiency test are a good predictor for how they will perform on their states' regular English/language arts and mathematics tests. ...


Two articles in a special issue of the Teachers College Record, which is about the education of English-language learners and immigrant students, stress the importance of meaningful school relationships. (Only summaries of the articles are available free online.) An article based on a study of 407 recently arrived immigrant youths found that "supportive school-based relationships strongly contribute to both the academic engagement and the school performance" of those students. In that article, "The Significance of Relationships: Academic Engagement and Achievement Among Newcomer Immigrant Youth," Carola Suarez-Orozco, Allyson Pimental, and Margary Martin use data from a five-year study that resulted in ...


I tracked down a report of an audit by Oregon education officials of programs for English-language learners in the Portland, Ore., school district that The Oregonian reported on early last month. I share the audit report, which includes state officials' requirements for how Portland schools must improve programs for ELLs, with you because it touches on weaknesses in programs that I think are common in school districts. The main points of the audit are that the school system is not meeting state and federal laws because not all English-language learners in the district have access to the core curriculum. Also ...


The California Association for Bilingual Education and Pearson have created a "Bill of Rights" for English-language learners that stresses the need for teachers who work with them to have specialized training. It also emphasizes the benefits of teaching ELLs in such a way that enables them to maintain their native language while they are learning English. Many states are lacking policies that support these "rights." For example, only Arizona, Florida, and New York require all prospective teachers to have training in how to work with ELLs, according to Quality Counts 2009. Only 11 states have incentives for teachers to receive ...


How students score in reading and writing on an English-language-proficiency test is a good indicator of how they will score on their state's tests for reading, writing, and mathematics that are given to all students. That's what a study of 5th and 8th graders who took the English-proficiency test developed by the World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment consortium, or WIDA, concluded. Researchers for the study, which was commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences, found that students' scores in the domains of reading and writing on the test were stronger predictors in how they did ...


Many of you who have had English-language learners from Asian families in your classrooms know that some of these children don't fit the stereotype that some Americans have of them of primarily coming from well-educated families whose parents work in high-tech jobs or at universities. But a report released today by the Asian American Federation based on U.S. Census data has some statistics that you may not have heard about the extent of poverty among Asian children in New York City. The report, "Working but Poor: Asian American Poverty in New York City," says that about one-fourth of Asian ...


Learning English may be a challenge for some Latinos, but it's not the main educational problem for most of them, argue Patricia Gandara and Frances Contreras in a new book, The Latino Education Crisis: The Consequences of Failed Social Policies. They point out that millions of Latino students speak only English but have really low academic achievement. Gandara is a professor of education at the University of California, Los Angeles. Contreras is an assistant professor of education at the University of Washington. Gandara is being hosted tomorrow by the American Youth Policy Forum on Capitol Hill for a presentation on ...


Over at the other blog that I contribute to, Curriculum Matters, I've featured a guide released yesterday by Teachers College intended to help educators and students overcome misunderstandings about Muslims. Interestingly, about one in ten of New York City's students are Muslim....


The federal government isn't the only entity trying to support educators in implementing instruction for English-language learners that is aligned with English-proficiency standards. Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc., or TESOL, has joined the effort as well by releasing a book, Paper to Practice: Using the TESOL English Language Proficiency Standards in the PreK-12 Classrooms. In fact, states have developed their own English-proficiency standards, many of which don't look exactly like the TESOL standards. But I presume both officials in the federal government and members of TESOL figure the same general principles for implementation apply to whatever ...


The New York City school district has commissioned what is believed to be the first standardized test for assessing English-language learners who are "students with interrupted formal education," or SIFE, and has just distributed it to schools, I report in an article published today at edweek.org. The test was published by Pearson. Elaine C. Klein and Gita Martohardjono, linguists from the City University of New York Queens College and graduate center who developed the test, told me they are trying to work out an agreement with the publisher for further distribution. So it is not yet available for use ...


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