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P-3 English Language Learners (ELL)


The Progress of Education Reform: English Language Learners - The latest issue of the Progress of Education Reform explores the research and data underscoring the urgency of better serving the growing English language learner (ELL) population, and highlights research and approaches that may inform state responses. (Jennifer Dounay Zinth, ECS, December 2013)...

English Language Learners: Which approaches best impact achievement? - Access related research titles from the ECS Research Studies Database. Links embedded in titles will take you to each study's major findings and recommendations....

A Focused Look at Schools Receiving School Improvement Grants that Have Percentages of English Language Learner Students - Researchers looked at 11 schools in urban, suburban and rural areas that received School Improvement Grants and had ELL percentages. They found all 11 reported providing specialized services, but the schools' approaches to improvement during initial phases of SIG appeared to include only moderate attention to ELLs' needs. Two districts had no ELL-trained staff;seven larger districts had multiply-staffed ESL departments. Schools that seemed to provide stronger attention to ELLs' needs were more likely to report having school staff dedicated to that purpose. (National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, April 2014)...

Teaching Academic Content and Literacy to English Learners in Elementary and Middle School - A guide on teaching both academic vocabulary and content material in science, history and mathematics to English learners in regular classrooms,this report has four recommendations: teach a set of academic vocabulary words intensively across several days, integrate oral and written English language instruction into content-area teaching, provide regular opportunities to develop written language skills and provide small-group intervention for struggling students. (What Works Clearinghouse, April 2014)...

Effectiveness of Four Instructional Programs Designed to Serve English Language Learners: Variation by Ethnicity and Initial English Proficiency - Researchers set out to examine the effectiveness of programs for English language learners longitudinally, and between students of different ethnicities, Latino and Chinese. They found that in the short run, English language learner (ELL) second graders in dual immersion scored below those in English immersion. In the long run, those in dual immersion scored substantially above students in English immersion. Looking at both ethnicities in immersion, the Chinese kids' English acquisition occurred faster. (Rachel A. Valentino and Sean F. Reardon, Stanford University Graduate School of Education, March 2014)...

Reclassification Patterns among Latino English Learner Students in Bilingual, Dual Immersion, and English Immersion Classrooms - Because schools are under increasing pressure to reclassify English language learners to fluent English proficient status as quickly as possible, researchers looked at reclassification times for Latino students in English immersion, transitional bilingual, maintenance bilingual and dual immersion programs. Students enrolled in two-language programs are reclassified at a slower pace in elementary school, but have higher overall English proficiency. (Ilana M. Umansky and Sean F. Reardon, Center for Education Policy Analysis, Stanford University, February 2014)...

Closing the Gap for English Language Learners - Among the fastest-growing student groups are those not proficient enough in English to benefit adequately from classroom instruction, according to this brief. So it has become increasingly important that assessments establish access and accommodation strategies to address these students’ linguistic capacities and needs. Massachusetts has developed new standards and assessments and moved ahead with educator preparation and development by imposing requirements at every level for training in Sheltered English Immersion (SEI). Between 2012 and 2016, 26,000 teachers and administrators will be required to complete SEI training. (Rennie Center, September 2013)...

English Language Learners - See the Institute for Education Sciences' What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) for recommendations on English language learners. The WWC reviews the research on the different programs, products, practices, and policies in education. Then, by focusing on the results from high-quality research, they try to answer the question “What works in education?” The goal is to provide educators with the information they need to make evidence-based decisions. (WWC, September 2013)...

Toward a "Common Definition of English Learner" - It sounds so simple. All consortia creating assessments for the Common Core State Standards must define English Learner. However, a brief from the Council of Chief State School Officers advises it will be a very difficult endeavor requiring “a carefully coordinated, multiyear effort within and across consortia.” Massive variation exists between states in identifying ELs, classifying degrees of proficiency, annual assessments to determine progress, and assessments that reveal when a student is proficient enough to exit. (Robert Linquanti, and H. Gary Cook, CCSSO, August 2013)...

What Works Clearinghouse: English Language Learners - This review examines the evidence of effectiveness of interventions designed for students whose primary language is not English and who have limited English speaking, reading, writing, and listening skills. (What Works Clearinghouse, Institute of Education Sciences)...

Supporting English Language Learners: A Pocket Guide for State and District Leaders - When the U.S. Department of Education began to grant waivers to states chafing under the demands of the 2002 Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the department asked for reforms in exchange for flexibility. This guide from the American Institutes of Research concerns reforms that apply to English language learners (ELLs). The authors review plans of 34 approved states and offer considerations for the implementation of proposed reforms. To meet the goal of achieving college- and career-ready expectations for all students, for example, they suggest building capacity to develop ELLs’ academic language in content-area classrooms and giving them multiple ways to acquire grade-level content and skills. (Diane August et al, American Institutes for Research, December 2012)...

The Role of Language and Literacy in College- and Career-Ready Standards: Rethinking Policy and Practice in Support of English Language Learners - This policy brief asserts that moving to Common Core State Standards for English language learners increases the burden on students and teachers alike, but offers greater hope for the future for ELLs. The brief is packed with strategies for successful transitions to better standards and better language acquisition beginning with teaching English within a discipline, not as a separate subject. (Mariana Haynes, Alliance for Excellent Education, October 2012)...

Framework for English Language Proficiency Development Standards corresponding to the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards - Many states have begun the process of developing or adapting English Language Proficiency (ELP) standards to align with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the forthcoming NextGeneration Science Standards (NGSS). This document presents a framework to assist states with this work. The goal of the Framework is to provide guidance to states on how to use the expectations of the CCSS and NGSS as tools for the creation and evaluation of ELP standards. (CCSSO, September 2012)...

Untapped Skills: Realising the Potential of Immigrant Students - This report was jointly produced by the countries participating in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), the experts and institutions working within the framework of the PISA Consortium, the OECD Directorate for and the OECD Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs. It offers an in-depth look at the various factors, including language and socioeconomic disadvantage, which can impede the full integration of immigrant students into their host societies. (OECD, June 2012)...

Preparing All Teachers to Meet the Needs of English Language Learners: Applying Research to Policy and Practice for Teacher Effectiveness - Preparing All Teachers to Meet the Needs of English Language Learners: Applying Research to Policy and Practice for Teacher Effectiveness - This report summarizes key findings drawn from the literature on promising practices that all teachers can employ when working with English Language Learners (ELLs). The authors recommend that in order to improve teacher effectiveness with ELL students, consistent and specific guidelines on the oral language, academic language, and cultural needs of ELLs be addressed. The authors also consider the degree to which that research is integrated into the preparation, certification, and evaluation of teachers as a means for improving educational outcomes for ELLs. (Center for American Progress, April 2012)...

A Descriptive Analysis of Enrollment and Achievement among Limited English Proficient Students in New Jersey - This study describes enrollment and achievement trends of limited English proficient (LEP) students in New Jersey public schools between 2002/03 and 2008/09. It documents achievement gaps between LEP and general education students in language arts literacy and math. The achievement gaps in both subjects are wider at higher grades. (Regional Educational Laboratory Mid-Atlantic, April 2012)...

Starting Early with English Language Learners: First Lessons from Illinois - Illinois is in the process of expanding its services for English Language Learners (ELL) into state-funded pre-K, so that students begin receiving ELL support when they first arrive in school, whether that is at age 3, 4, or 5. This paper takes a deep look at how Illinois came to see a need for new policies for its burgeoning population of English Language Learners, and why focusing on its youngest English Language Learners was the state’s next step. (New America Foundation, April 2012)...

The Educational Trajectories of English Language Learners in Texas - This report examined the performance of English Language Learners (ELLs) in Texas, first grade through high school graduation. The authors found that ELLs who successfully complete English as a Second Language (ESL) or bilingual education programs within three years fare better in meeting math and reading proficiency standards than long-term ELLs. Hispanic ELLs who opt out of ESL or bilingual education programs in favor of English-only courses may be particularly disadvantaged in terms of college enrollment. (Migration Policy Institute, March 2012)...

Relationships Among and Between ELL Status, Demographic Characteristics, Enrollment History, and School Persistence - This report examines enrollment history, achievement gaps, and persistence in school for ELL students and reclassified ELL students as compared to non-ELL students. The results reconfirmed other literature showing large achievement and socioeconomic gaps between ELL and non-ELL students in California. Findings may suggest that school persistence in the ELL population may be a different process than that in the non-ELL population and that protracted ELL status leads to higher incidence of dropping out of high schools. (CRESST, 2011)...

Children Who Speak a Language Other Than English at Home by Region: 2009 - Table 236 in the Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2012. (U.S. Census Bureau, September 2011)...

WWC Quick Review of the Report "Reading and Language Outcomes of a Five-Year Randomized Evaluation of Transitional Bilingual Education" - The study examined how the English reading performance of predominantly Spanish-speaking students in transitional bilingual education compared with the performance of predominantly Spanish-speaking students in structured English immersion. At this time, differences in English-reading skills between the groups were all statistically insignificant. But two of the four outcomes showed large enough differences favoring structured English immersion. (What Works Clearinghouse, Institute of Education Sciences, September 2010)...

Assessing Achievement of English Language Learners: Pass-Fail Status on Arizona's Language and Content Tests - The Arizona Department of Education's Associate Superintendent for Accountability requested assistance from REL West in examining the coherence of the testing system used in determining English language learner placement and achievement. This is the analysis. (RELWest, WestEd, July 2010)...

Responding to the Needs of Young Latino Children: State Efforts to Build Comprehensive Early Learning Systems - The National Council of La Raza conducted interviews with early childhood leaders in eight states with significant Latino populations to gauge how responsive early learning systems are to the needs of children in these communities. Among other shortcomings, they found states lacking in articulating early learning standards that reflect English Language Learners’ developmental trajectory, implementing bilingual education programs, providing teachers with adequate training and professional development. The report ends with recommendations for federal policy makers and state early learning councils to address these challenges. (Erika Beltran, National Council of La Raza, February 2010)...

What Are We Doing to Middle School English Learners? Findings and Recommendations for Change from a Study of California EL Programs - Researchers at WestEd concludes that based on findings in California, where 30 percent of the nation's English learners are educated, middle school EL programs are failing students and limiting their futures in profound ways. The Narrative Summary provides an overview of study data from 13 school districts with the highest concentration of English learner students in the state, and 64 middle schools in those districts. Excerpts from case study observations in a subset of schools contextualize the highlighted recommendations for change. (WestEd, 2010) ...


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