The World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment consortium, or WIDA, has received a three-year, $1.6 million grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York to create a formative assessment system for teachers of English-language learners at the secondary school level. The grant award comes less than a month after WIDA received a $1 million award from the U.S. Department of Education to create an English-language-proficiency test for ELLs with severe disabilities. Timothy Boals, the executive director of WIDA, told me in a telephone interview that the new assessment system will be based on WIDA's English-language-proficiency standards. Those standards, and ...


Mike Petrilli over at Flypaper and Michele McNeil, a writer for EdWeek's Campaign K-12, who sits a row of office cubicles away from me, have been blogging about the extent to which the Barack Obama campaign favors portfolio testing. Update on Oct. 22: The topic of portfolio tests also came up at last night's debate between education advisers for the campaigns of Sen. Obama and Sen. John McCain. Let me jump in to the discussion and note that whether the presidential candidates are open to portfolio tests is of interest to educators of ELLs, many of whom would like to ...


At the LEP Partnership meeting last week, several U.S. Department of Education officials spelled out for state education officials what federal Title III funds cannot be spent on. But I came away wondering what the funds CAN be spent on. Title III is the part of the No Child Left Behind Act that authorizes funds for English-language-acquisition programs. I had asked the Education Department's panelists at the session if they could name some examples of what the money may be spent on. One of them named professional development for teachers. That was it. But this week, Education Department officials ...


Some immigrant groups to the United States might not have learned English as quickly as their descendants claim they did, according to an interesting study by a German professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. (Hat tip to ESOL World News.) Joseph Salmons, the German professor, and Miranda Wilkerson, a recent Ph.D. graduate in German from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, decided to look closer at a common refrain that appears in letters to newspaper editors or surfaces in current debates about immigration, writes Brian Mattmiller in an Oct. 16 article put out by the university's public relations department. The refrain ...


In-depth research on testing accommodations for English-language learners, which I wrote about on this blog last week, has now been posted by George Washington University's Center for Equity and Excellence in Education. Find it here....


I've met some of these kids. Some of you have met some of these kids. Each year about 8,000 immigrant children who have crossed illegally into the United States without their parents and been arrested by federal immigration authorities are turned over to the care of the U.S. government. Microsoft, 25 law firms, and Angelina Jolie, the actress and human rights activist, have joined together to ensure that the children have lawyers to represent them in navigating the immigration system, according to an Oct. 16 article in the National Law Journal. From what I've learned in my reporting, ...


To commemorate its 50th anniversary, the Washington-based Center for Applied Linguistics has published a time line of accomplishments in the world of language education spearheaded by the center. In 1969, for example, the organization was the first to work with the federal government's Bureau of Indian Affairs to identify problems that Native American children have in learning English. In 1981, it published a directory of foreign-language immersion programs. In 1995, it managed a project to create English-as-a-second-language standards for pre-K-12 students for the national organization, Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc. These events are put in a ...


In the final "interpretation" of Title III of the No Child Left Behind Act published in the Federal Register today, the U.S. Department of Education has backed off on a couple of the most controversial requirements it had included in its proposal for the interpretation that was published May 2. Update: See my article about the final interpretation, "Education Officials Back Down on Some Proposed ELL Mandates," at edweek.org. But federal education officials would still like to see some of those proposed requirements included in the reauthorization of NCLB, according to Kathryn M. Doherty, a special assistant to ...


Those are the three accommodations that states most frequently permit English-language learners to use while taking their state's regular math and reading tests, new research shows. The first two accommodations—permitting extended test time and providing a word-to-word bilingual dictionary—are about equally frequent. They're allowed in about three-quarters of states. About three-quarters of states also allow items on math tests to be read aloud to ELLs. About half of states permit items on reading or language-arts tests to be read aloud. Researchers at George Washington University's Center for Equity and Excellence in Education report this information and much more...


Georgia gives funds to schools for English-language learners in differing amounts depending on the distribution of such students across grade levels. For ELLs in K-3, the state provides funding for one segment—about a 45-minute period—of English-as-a-second-language instruction per school day. For students in grades 4-8, the state pays for two segments of ESL. For high school grades, it provides money for up to five periods of ESL. The state gave out $115 million in state funds (separate from the federal funds authorized by Title III of the No Child Left Behind Act) in the 2007-08 school year, according...


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