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Assessment Group Revises English-Language-Development Standards

The World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment consortium—or WIDA—has released its new edition of English-language-development standards that are directly linked to the common-core standards in English/language arts and mathematics, and are meant to help teachers develop the demanding academic language that the new standards will require of students, including English-language learners.

WIDA's consortium—composed of 28 states, including newest member Massachusetts—has been working for months to revise or "amplify" the five English-language-development standards that are shared by the member states. As Margo Gottlieb, WIDA's lead developer of common assessments for English-learners told me a few months ago, the new edition makes clear connections between the content standards of the common core across every grade level and the academic language that will be necessary to teach across the varying levels of English proficiency.

Gottlieb also explained how the new edition of the ELD standards is very explicit in showing teachers what the cognitive demands are for each of the content standards and how to make adjustments to their instruction, according to students' proficiency levels.

In addition to the 28 official members of the consortia, four other states also use the English-language development standards and assessments developed by WIDA—adding up to more than 1 million ELLs.

WIDA will be hosting four events, starting next month, to roll out and explain the revised standards to educators across the country.

California—home to roughly 1.6 million ELLs—is also revamping its ELD standards, in large part to align them with the common-core standards. The state education department recently released its draft and is seeking comments before moving toward final adoption later this summer.

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