December 20, 2016

Addressing the Assessment and Instructional Needs of English Language Learners

According to a recent study by George Washington University, up to 10 percent of all public school students in U.S. K-12 schools are English Language Learners (ELLs), meaning that they have limited English proficiency. As a result, teachers must be able to address the assessment and instructional needs of these learners. Educators in the U.S. have created five basic guidelines to help teachers new to ELL:


Guideline #1: Increase English language practice in the classroom


This may sound obvious, but the starting point in improving English language ability is getting students to interact in the classroom with English. As a rule of thumb, educators should require students to practice their English-language abilities in classroom work at least three times a week. At a very minimum, they should be required to explain certain concepts in English or contribute to the workflow of the classroom with their English skills


Guideline #2: Focus on vocabulary and grammatical structure


Learning new vocabulary is the key to improving English language proficiency. Thus, there should be a real effort to introduce new vocabulary into lessons on a regular basis. Also, while spoken English is important, so is written English. And, for that reason, teachers should not forget about grammatical structure and helping students figure out different ways of saying the same things.


Guideline #3: Making reading comprehension a priority


Almost any test assessment in a U.S. school will focus on reading comprehension ability – the ability to read a short paragraph or two of text, and determine what was said. One way to focus on this skill is by integrating reading comprehension into the overall workflow of the classroom. One student might be asked to read a short passage of text, and another student asked to explain what it means to the other classmates.


Guideline #4: Include parents in a dialogue


Ultimately, the United States is a nation of immigrants. It mean that there will always be students coming from families where English is not the main language spoken at home. It’s not because the students are any less gifted than their peers – it’s just a fact that they are coming from a background where English was not the native language. By involving parents here, teachers can ensure that some of the concepts being taught in the classroom are also being taught and assimilated at home.


Guideline #5:  Give students plenty of writing opportunities


The alpha and omega of the U.S. classroom is reading and writing, so just as educators must focus on reading comprehension, they must also focus on developing solid writing skills. Students need to be given as many chances as possible to develop their own style, and to learn how to make convincing arguments in their writing.




At any U.S. school, there are various terms – such as ESL (English as a Second Language) and ELL – that are used to describe the unique learning needs of students who still only have basic English proficiency. Teaching English is obviously a priority. The focus throughout the K-12 educational experience is to graduate students who are fully able to express themselves in English, both written and spoken.

Upload your CV Real Time Analytics