Fostering Academic Success for English Language Learners: What Do We Know?

By Robert Linquanti

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Description

The number of English language learners (ELLs) has grown exponentially in California, Arizona, Utah, and Nevada region. Fostering these students’ academic success has never been more urgent. Yet a contentious, politically charged debate over program models perennially displaces some important questions:

  • Which kinds of language-minority students, instructional methods, and program models are we talking about? Are we using the same terms to refer to the same things?
  • What instructional practices and programs work best for which students? When are they appropriately used? What’s needed to successfully implement them? What are the advantages and risks of different approaches?
  • What do the most rigorous and reliable research reviews tell us about English language acquisition? About the role of students’ native language in teaching reading, learning academic English, and succeeding academically?
  • What are some pervasive misconceptions that continually cloud the discussion?

This publication synthesizes information from several authoritative sources in order to begin answering these questions in ways that can foster better educational practice and accountability for the success of ELLs.

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