Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Common-Standards Draft Excludes ELL Proficiency

Once again we see how our fastest growing subgroup (ELLs) are an afterthought in policy making. We need to really make a shift in the way we conceptualize these students together with college readiness. This is an area that select policy makers in Texas are beginning to make a priority but more work is certainly needed.

Check out UCLA's Policy Brief.


By Mary Ann Zehr | Ed Week
May 20, 2010

The writing teams for common standards have sought the advice of researchers on English-language learners, but the organizations that are coordinating the venture don’t plan to produce a set of English-language-proficiency standards to go with the common standards.

Instead, the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association intend to leave that up to the states.

“As far as developing [the English-proficiency standards] ourselves, I don’t see that happening,” said Keith Gayler, the director of standards for the CCSSO. At the same time, he added, the organization might help some states work together to craft English-proficiency standards.

Meanwhile, the World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment, or WIDA, consortium, whose English-language-proficiency standards have been adopted by 23 states and the District of Columbia, is already revising them to align with the common standards.

“We do feel a need to look at [our] standards and make sure we are in sync with what is happening nationally with the common core,” said Timothy Boals, the executive director of WIDA. He said the consortium has formed a national panel of experts to redo the existing proficiency standards.

For the first time under the No Child Left Behind Act, states were required to devise English-language-proficiency standards, which spell out what students who are new to English should know and be able to do in their journey toward acquiring the language. States also had to produce tests aligned with those standards that assess ELLs each year in reading, writing, speaking, and listening.

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