Alignment to Assure Learning for ELL Students
Many students who are English language learners are not being taught the academic language skills they need to fully understand and respond to the questions asked on standardized tests.
That is one of the key findings emerging from a collaborative study aimed at improving the achievement of English language learner (ELL) students through better alignment between classroom instruction and state achievement standards and assessments.
ELL students benefit when local school officials establish an environment in which the responsibility for educating this group is shared between English language and content-area teachers. The study suggests that schools support cross-disciplinary teams made up of English language development and content-area teachers who seek ways to systematically incorporate academic English language learning across the curriculum.
To ensure that happens, though, standards, instruction, and assessment need to be much more closely aligned. At this point, the standards are not consistently articulating expectations for academic English language proficiency. As standards are drivers of instruction and assessment, we are not only failing to give students opportunities to learn the language they need, but we’re holding them accountable for knowledge to which they may not have access.
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