Ell Proficiency Standards Assignment Definition

Using the English Language Proficiency Standards (ELP) from Arizona or from your state, select a stage (grade level) for a group of students you define. Create a content objective and a language objective using the AZ College & Career Ready Standards and the ELA Standards for your group of ELLs at the Basic Proficiency Level for each of the following domains:

  1. 1.Listening and Speaking
  2. 2.Reading
  3. 3.Writing

Include a 500-750-word summary below the chart (within the same document) that contains rationales for each of the three domains that describes how the objectives you wrote address the characteristics of a basic ELL level and accounts for the theoretical language acquisition principles mentioned in your required reading.

In this summary, explain how content area teachers can write lesson plans in which all of the standards (ELP and content) support one another and actually provide scaffolding opportunities for students.

While APA format is not required for the body of this assignment, solid academic writing is expected, and in-text citations and references should be presented using APA documentation guidelines.


Separately answer the following two questions in 150 words each. (1st question due by Wednesday night, 2nd question due by Friday night)

1.According to Jim Cummins, social language (BICS) takes 1-3 years while academic language (CALP) is more difficult and takes 5-8 years to develop. Describe the differences between BICS and CALP. How can teachers help English language learners develop academic language?

2. What are some of the greatest barriers preventing our schools from meeting the educational goals for ELL students today? Consider efforts that promote and/or suppress dual language or two-way bilingual initiatives and programs. What recommendations are offered in your readings that address those barriers? Who do you see as potential change agents for implementing those recommendations?

Over the years that I have worked with students learning English (English learners or ELs), I have met a number of well-meaning educators and parents that don't understand the difference between English Language Proficiency (ELP) standards and English content standards also know as reading/language arts content standards. For some parents and educators that don't have training or experience working with ELs, the idea that there are two types of English standards is confusing. 

So, I (and a number of my colleagues) was glad to see that the U.S Department of Education (USED) recently published guidance that specifically addressed this issue. 

Here is the question and corresponding answer from the recent guidance document, "Non-Regulatory Guidance: English Learners and Title III of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)” : 

B-5. What is the difference between English language proficiency standards and content standards in reading/language arts?

Reading/language arts standards are not the same as English language proficiency standards. English language proficiency standards should be specifically developed for students who are ELs and define progressive levels of competence in the acquisition of the English language. English language proficiency standards must be derived from the four language domains of speaking, listening, reading, and writing. (ESEA Section 1111(b)(1)(F)). Reading/language arts standards, on the other hand, describe what all students should know and be able to do in the specific academic content area of reading/language arts.

This does a fairly adequate job of explaining the differences, but putting things in another context may help as well. So, if this is something that you have struggled with, imagine you are a 3rd grade student from the USA that has moved to another country, like Mexico. As a native speaker of English, you attend the local public school where the language of instruction is Spanish. You attend classes entirely taught in Spanish (reading/language arts, math, science, social studies, art, music, etc).

In order to participate in these content areas, you would need to learn how to speak, read, and write Spanish, as well as understand spoken Spanish. This would be equivalent to the language domains of "speaking, listening, reading, and writing" mentioned above in the USED guidance. 

Since Spanish is your second language, you need language proficiency in Spanish in order to participate in the content instruction. In order to measure how you are progressing toward learning Spanish, you would also need Spanish language acquisition standards (in addition to academic content standards) for the subjects of instruction.

In other words, the difference between proficiency standards and content standards is that:

  • Proficiency standards relate to the ability or proficiency a student has in the language
  • Content standards relate to what a student needs to know about the content being taught

For more information on the impact of the Every Student Succeed Act (ESSA) on EL programs across the country, download our ebook.  Or, feel free to contact us at 425.977.2100, Option 3 or email at support@transact.com.

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