Setting national standards for English learners a formidable task

May 02, 2013

Arriving at a national definition of "English language learner" is a formidable task, best undertaken in a years-long process, a University of California, Davis, expert argued Tuesday at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association in San Francisco.

According to Jamal Abedi, a professor of education at UC Davis who focuses on educational and psychological assessments, states use such a wide variety of criteria to evaluate that devising common standards is complex.

He presented his paper, "Toward a Common Definition of : Issues and Options," at the conference.

Federal law requires states to annually assess English learners in four areas—reading, writing, listening and speaking. States are also required to monitor these students' progress in attaining .

"However, an English language learner student who is classified as 'basic,' 'intermediate,' 'advanced,' or 'English proficient' in one state may not be similarly classified in another state,'' Abedi said.

Standards even vary from district to district, he said.

As a key policy motivation, the U.S. Department of Education is encouraging states participating in either of the two "Race to the Top" assessment consortia to establish a common definition of English learner.

"Race to the Top" is a federal program that began three years ago and offers grants to schools that undertake significant educational reforms.

Abedi said one reason for variation among districts and states is that listening and speaking skills, for example, usually come faster than writing and . If states weigh or score these skills differently, definitions of "proficient" will also vary.

"The complex policy and technical issues involved in developing a common English learner definition are going to require a well-defined of processes and decisions for all consortia members to enact over time," Abedi said.

" and the consortia to which they belong should plan now for this process."

Explore further: Calling your bluff: Supervisors easily sniff out what drives a worker

More information: www.aera.net/EventsMeetings/An… d/10208/Default.aspx

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

For English learners, reading isn't always

Apr 11, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- An influential model for teaching reading and comprehension to English learners doesn’t work well for Cantonese-speaking children, according to new research from the University of California, Davis, ...

States face challenges to improve writing standards

Apr 17, 2012

Far too many K-12 students have inadequate writing skills, and the current efforts to improve instruction in the United States may be more challenging than anticipated, research from Michigan State University shows.

Schools lose records; English learners pay

Apr 11, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Poor recordkeeping keeps California schools from getting all of the funding that they have coming, a failing that especially hurts English learners, according to research from the University of California, ...

Recommended for you

Hunger for meat pushing food security to the edge

1 hour ago

Promoting more sustainable plant-based foods and reducing demand for meat and dairy products will be essential to feed billions of people and avoid serious and ongoing global food security impacts, warn experts ...

There is really a single ideal body shape for women?

2 hours ago

Many scholars of Renaissance art tell us that Botticelli's Birth of Venus captures the tension between the celestial perfection of divine beauty and its flawed earthly manifestation. As classical ideas blossom ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.