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Alignment of Academic Standards with Ell Proficiency Standards

In: English and Literature

Submitted By kthornton57
Words 1348
Pages 6
December 2, 2012
English Language Teaching: Foundations and Methodologies

Alignment of Academic Standards with ELL Proficiency Standards In 2001 the federal government put into action what is known as the No Child Left Behind Act or the NCLB, changing the foundations and the administration of educational instruction in our American educational systems. Written within the federal law of the No Child Left Behind Act the government requires states to include English Language Learning or ELL students in state assessments and assess students language proficiency with valid, reliable assessments in the areas of oral language and reading and writing skills, but more specifically comprehension of speaking, reading, listening, and writing the English language. Also included in the NCLB Act are the provisions that these assessments given must also assist in assessing students in their attainment of the states academic achievement standards. (NCLB, 2001) With the development and creation of these federal standards being implemented into the educational system a new approach needed to be maid and assessed in how states and schools were acclimating and appropriately assessing English Language Learners. With the ever so growing population of non-English speaking students being implemented into the government regulated educational systems over the last several decades something needed to change. Even just the population and growth of English Language Learners has increased by over 20% in just the past several years and is only expected to increase with time. It is clearly stated that children whom are not English speaking or those that are disabled or disadvantaged in any way shape or form still have the right to a fair and just education, just like the rest. Because of the wide span of English language learning students over the United States something that would regulate and serve as a wide spread requirement and or benchmark needed to be implemented in the education system and through the NCLB Act it was done. Now that the states across the board had to adhere and abide by assessment regulations and academic standards with the NCLB Act, the question laid in question of how exactly the English language learning children would fit into this picture. The government came up with the agreement that there will be an overall expectation of what the academic standards that must be met and assessments will be given with the expectation of the students to pass in the general education classes, however they would specifically let each state come up with their own individual guidelines and protocols that would match up with this expectation. The tricky part is that it has to intertwine with the state and government academic standards. For an example the Arizona or TESOL English language learner standards are required to work individually as a state but are also required to adhere and administer the governmental requirements. This is done by specifically grouping the English language learning students into categories so to speak. These groups or categories that are put into action are there for no other reason than to identify what each child’s level of comprehension and ability to speak, listen, read and write the English language. There are a series of levels that are tailored or tiered off into individual categories for the age ranges. These categories are all requirements and the overall framework and foundations to build off of, but are also requirements of the government no matter what state you reside in it stays the same. The standards are known as the ELP or the English language Proficiency Standards. The ELP standards are sub categorized off into several different sections starting with the age ranges, and ending up with individual achievement and comprehension. The first and foremost important factor is the age in which a child is, making the students be appropriately sectioned by developmental ability and accuracy in cognitive functions. There are four categories within the age bracket starting with kindergarten through second grade, then third to fifth grade, sixth through eighth grade and then finally ninth through twelfth grade. After the appropriate age range has been identified and appropriately intertwined with their peers, you can then assess what level of English they utilize and understand. The first level is an entering level emerging all the way up to a bridging level meaning they are ready to be immersed into the general education classrooms with a full understanding and comprehension and the full ability to utilize the English language. Of course this is the overall ultimate goal for all students and through consistent and accurate documenting and testing through the assessments they will all reach a bridging level as soon as possible. After an appropriate level of English language proficiency standards have been assessed and identified the students need to be tested on their understandings of the overall general academic standards. These standards are tested with the alignment of the academic requirements for all American students. The first standard tested and assessed is the overall comprehension and mastery in social and instructional abilities. The overall assessment focuses on the level the “English language learners communicate in English for social and instructional purposes within the school setting”. (Lisboa, 2004) The next level of assessment strictly focuses on Language Arts, looking for the ability of the “English language learners’ ability to communicate information, ideas, and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area”. (Lisboa, 2004) The third level of assessment focuses on mathematics following the same expectations of having the “English language learner communicate information, ideas, and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area” (Lisboa, 2004), and the next two levels of assessment will assess the same overall comprehension as well. The fourth level of assessment area is in Science, and the fifth level of assessment in Social Studies. Now each one of these five levels of assessments are then broken down further with the individual understanding and mastery in reading, writing, listening and speaking within each level of domain. A child might understand how to listen and speak thoroughly in science, however they have not yet mastered and score really low in reading and writing in science. This is how a teacher can specifically utilize the content by collecting data from all of the various sources in the testing process and can not only see exactly the level of understanding at the beginning of the year but can keep an accurate level of data collection to compare with the standards based instruction required. Throughout this entire identification process that happens with the English language proficiency standards it provides the educators with a pretty specific level of where a child stands academically with all of the academic standards requirements. It is at this stage when an instructor can actively assess and acknowledge where a child sits with their comprehension of subject matter, but also their level of understanding of the English language especially in specific subjects. With the collection of this very subject specific testing the instructors can accurately identify what a child’s strengths and weaknesses are and can be prepared and aware of the areas in which they will need more assistance and resources to be provided for understanding. With the appropriate levels of academic standards being addressed and taught not only for the academic standards expected of all children in the schooling systems nationwide, but even for the English language learning students the hope and reason for the integration is success on both the English language proficiency standards as well. This really creates and level of understanding for everyone involved in a child’s educational journey, and creates a higher level of success for all involved.
References:
Lisboa, Robin M. (2004). English Language Proficiency Standards. Division of English Language Learning. Illinois State Board of Education. Retrieved on December 1, 2012 from http://www.isbe.state.il.us/bilingual/htmls/elp_standards.htm
The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). Pub. L. 107-110, Jan 8, 2002. Statute 115.1425- 2094.
The Arizona K-12 Academic Standards. English Language Learners. The Arizona Department of Education. Retrieved December 1, 2012 from http://www.azed.gov/english-language-learners/elps/forms/…...

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