Council of Chief State School Officers attempts to define English-learner

31 Aug

According to the Institute of Education Sciences, many children are learning English. In Fast Facts, they report:
English language learners

Do you have information on children who speak a language other than English at home?
The number of school-age children (children ages 5–17) who spoke a language other than English at home rose from 4.7 to 11.2 million between 1980 and 2009, or from 10 to 21 percent of the population in this age range. From 2006 to 2009, this percentage remained between 20 and 21 percent. After increasing from 4 to 7 percent between 1980 and 2000, the percentage of school-age children who spoke a language other than English at home and spoke English with difficulty decreased to 5 percent in 2009.
Among school-age children who spoke a non-English language at home, the percentage who spoke English with difficulty generally decreased between 1980 and 2009. For example, 41 percent of these children spoke English with difficulty in 1980, compared with 36 percent in 2000, some 25 percent in 2006, and 24 percent in 2009. School enrollment patterns have also changed over time for these children: the enrollment rate increased from 90 to 93 percent between 1980 and 2009.
In 2009, the percentage of school-age children who spoke a language other than English at home and spoke English with difficulty varied by demographic characteristics, including race/ethnicity, citizenship status, poverty status, and age. Sixteen percent each of Hispanics and Asians spoke a non-English language at home and spoke English with difficulty, compared with 6 percent of Pacific Islanders, 3 percent of American Indians/Alaska Natives, and 1 percent each of Whites, Blacks, and children of two or more races.
Concerning differences by age, the percentage of 5- to 9-year-olds who spoke a non-English language at home and spoke English with difficulty (7 percent) was greater than the percentages of 10- to 13-year-olds and 14- to-17-year-olds who did so (4 percent each). These patterns by age held across most demographic and socioeconomic characteristics.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2012). The Condition of Education 2011 (NCES 2011-045), Indicator 6.
Related Tables and Figures: (Listed by Release Date)
• 2012, Digest of Education Statistics 2011, Table 134. Average reading scale scores of 4th- and 8th-graders in public schools and percentage scoring at or above selected reading achievement levels, by English language learner (ELL) status and state: 2011
• 2009, Number and percentage of all schools that had any students with an Individual Education Plan (IEP) or who were limited-English proficient (LEP) and percentage of students with an IEP or who were LEP, by school type and selected school characteristics: 2007–08
Other Resources: (Listed by Release Date)
• 2010, Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (ECLS): This survey includes three longitudinal studies that examine child development, school readiness, and early school experiences.
• 2010, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP): This site provides access to publications and data on the reading, mathematics, science, writing, U.S. history, civics, geography, and arts achievement of U.S. 4th-,8th-, and 12th-grade students.
• 2010, National Household Education Surveys Program (NHES): This site provides access to publications and data on learning at all ages, from early childhood to school age through adulthood.
• 2010, Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS): This site offers extensive data on American public and private elementary and secondary schools.

There are many reasons that children should learn English.

5 minute English lists reasons that children should learn English in Why Learn English: 10 Reasons to Learn English:

1. English is the most commonly used language among foreign language speakers. Throughout the world, when people with different languages come together they commonly use English to communicate.

2. Why learn English when it is so difficult? Well, knowing English will make you bilingual and more employable in every country in the world.

3. Despite China, the United States is still a leader in technical innovation and economic development. English is used in the United States and in each of these fields.

4. English is commonly spoken throughout much of the world due to Great Britian’s expansion during the colonial age. People in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, parts of Africa, India, and many smaller island nations speak English. English is the commonly adopted second language in Germany, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands. Speaking English opens these countries and cultures up to you.

5. Another reason why English is so important is that it is the language of science. To excel in science you need to know English.

6. English is based on an alphabet and, compared to Chinese, it can be learned fairly quickly.

7. English is also the language of the Film Industry and English means you no longer have to rely on subtitles.

8. In the United States, speaking English immediately opens up opportunities regardless of your ethnicity, color, or background.

9. Learn English and you can then teach your children English — or if they are already learning, you can now communicate with them in English.

10. English speakers in the United States earn more money than non-English speakers. Learning English will open your job prospects and increase your standard of living.

Schools must define English-learner in order to educate these children.

Lesli A. Maxwell reported in the Education Week article, New Guide To Help States Commonly Define English-Learners:

With a just-released set of recommendations from the Council of Chief State School Officers to help guide them, most states are now set to embark on an effort to bring much more uniformity to identifying who English-learners are and when those students are no longer in need of language instruction. The goal is to move all states to a more consistent playing field over the next two years.
Doing so would upend current practice, which for decades has had states and local school districts using very different approaches to identifying ELLs and reclassifying them as fluent. It would also lead, experts say, to much more comparability among states and districts for how well they are serving this growing population of students.
“If we can move states toward more coherence around English-learners, that is only going to improve services for these students,” said Robert Linquanti, a senior research associate at WestEd, a San Francisco-based research organization, and a co-author of the CCSSO policy recommendations.
The U.S. Department of Education is an important driver of the states’ effort to move toward a more consistent approach to identifying and reclassifying English-learners.
States belonging to the consortia that are designing shared assessments for the Common Core State Standards—as well as the two groups developing new English-language-proficiency tests—agreed, as a condition of receiving federal grant money for those endeavors, to work together to establish more uniform definitions of ELLs.
The hope is that even states not participating in any of the assessment groups will be part of the effort, especially Texas, where more than 800,000 English-learners attend public schools….


Toward a “Common Definition of English Learner”: Guidance for States and State Assessment Consortia in Defining and Addressing Policy and Technical Issues and Options
Publication date August 2013
publication pdf Toward a “Common Definition of English Learner”: Guidance for States and State Assessment Consortia in Defining and Addressing Policy and Technical Issues and Options


States participating in the four federally-funded assessment consortia are required to establish a “common definition of English Learner.” This includes the two Race to the Top academic assessment consortia and the two Enhanced Assessment Grant English language proficiency (ELP) assessment consortia. This paper provides guidance that consortium member states can use to move toward establishing a common English learner definition in ways that are theoretically-sound, evidence-based, pragmatic, and sensitive to the many policy, technical, and legal issues.
Specifically, the paper briefly outlines central issues, and discusses policy and technical options, for defining English learners using a four-stage framework of key criteria and processes to:
• Identify a student as a potential English learner;
• Classify (confirm/disconfirm) a student as an English learner;
• Establish an “English-language proficient” performance standard on the state/consortium ELP test against which to assess ELs’ English-language proficiency; and
• Reclassify a student to former-EL status through the use of multiple exit criteria.

Here is the conclusion and summary of recommendations:


The complex policy and technical issues involved in developing a common EL definition are going to require a well-defined roadmap of processes and decisions for all consortia members to enact over time. Given the different permutation of states involved in the four consortia, this work is best engaged via close coordination and frequent communication within and across consortia. All phases and criteria — including initial identification, classification, and reclassification — will need to be addressed, using all consortia assessments.
It is prudent to approach the issue of creating a common definition of an English learner as a multi-staged, multiyear, deliberative process. As assessments come on line, teachers begin to teach to the Common Core State Standards, and educational systems align to the expectations of college- and career-readiness, a refined understanding of English language proficiency will emerge. States and the consortia to which they belong should plan now for this process. To that end, a forthcoming paper under the sponsorship of CCSSO’s English Language Learner (ELL) Assessment Advisory Committee will offer further guidance on issues and opportunities described above, and discuss how states and consortia might proceed toward a common definition of English Learner.

Summary of Recommendations

1. Consortia states should adopt a common, standardized, and validated Home Language Survey, which can be used to identify potential ELs.
2. States within a given consortium (ELP or academic) should have consistent initial EL classification tools and procedures, or, in the case of states in overlapping (ELP and academic) consortia, demonstrate that their tools and procedures lead to comparable initial EL classification results.
3. States within and across consortia should clearly establish what “English proficient” means on all ELP assessments used. In doing so, they should carefully consider how differing composite score domain weights affect claims about comparability of the “English proficient” performance standard across ELP measures.
4. Consortia states should identify a theoretically sound, empirically informed performance standard or performance range on any commonly shared ELP assessment. In doing so, they should examine the relationship of both ELP and academic content assessment results.
5. Consortia states should move toward comparable, standardized and validated reclassification criteria, in addition to ELP assessment results, that schools and districts might use in EL reclassification decisions.
6. Consortia states, the US Department of Education, and federal and state policymakers should recognize that establishing a common definition of English learner will require a multi-staged, multiyear, deliberative process.

It is important to educate ALL children.

The Global Partnership for Education lists reasons why education is important in The Value of Education:

The Value of Education
Investing in education is the single most effective means of reducing poverty.
Girls and boys who learn to read, write and count will provide a better future for their families and countries. With improved education, so many other areas are positively affected. In short, education has the power to make the world a better place.
Education is more than reading, writing, and arithmetic. It is one of the most important investments a country can make in its people and its future and is critical to reducing poverty and inequality:
• Education gives people critical skills and tools to help them better provide for themselves and their children
• Education helps people work better and can create opportunities for sustainable and viable economic growth now and into the future
• Education helps fight the spread of HIV/AIDS and other diseases, reduces mother and child mortality and helps improve health
• Education encourages transparency, good governance, stability and helps fight against graft and corruption.
The impact of investment in education is profound: education results in raising income, improving health, promoting gender equality, mitigating climate change, and reducing poverty.
Here is a breakdown of the impact of education on people’s lives:
• Income and Growth
• Health
• Gender Equality
• Other
Education is the key to unlocking a country’s potential for economic growth:
• If all students in low income countries left school with basic reading skills 171 million people could be lifted out of poverty. This is equal to a 12% cut in global poverty. (EFA GMR, UNESCO, p. 8)
• One extra year of schooling increases an individual’s earnings by up to 10%. (EFA GMR, UNESCO, p.7)
• Wages, agricultural income and productivity – all critical for reducing poverty – are higher where women involved in agriculture receive a better education. (EFA GMR, UNESCO p. 4)
• Each additional year of schooling raises average annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth by 0.37%. (EFA GMR, UNESCO, p.6)
• An increase of one standard deviation in student scores on international assessments of literacy and mathematics is associated with a 2% increase in annual GDP per capita growth. (World Bank, p.32)

ALL children have a right to a good basic education.

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr.

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