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Measuring (and Celebrating!) English Language Development (ELD)

Measuring (and Celebrating!) English Language Development (ELD)

by Sarah Ottow, Confianza Director and Lead Coach How do we measure growth in English for our English Learners (ELs)?  English Language Development (ELD) is so nuanced and changes from context to context.  Plus, so many of the ways that ELs are assessed in terms of “big data” and even the traditional progress reports or report cards don’t really measure students in a valid way.   In discussing this topic with educators in Texas, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Illinois and California, I’d like to share with you that districts and schools are attending more to balanced assessment systems that measure growth,...

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Why Is Descriptive Feedback So Important?

Why Is Descriptive Feedback So Important?

Why Is Descriptive Feedback So Important? By Jennifer Schultz, ESL Department Chair of Greenfield School District, Wisconsin, values the diverse student population she works with and shares tips for providing effective feedback here. So, you try a new recipe and as your significant other’s mouth is full, they mumble “It’s good!” You light up a bit but the dish took over an hour to prepare, and you think...that’s it, “It’s good??” Now, if they would have said, “Wow, how did you get the chicken so tender, it’s delicious. I do feel like it could use a bit more spice, and...

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'Mistakes' = Opportunities for Growth

'Mistakes' = Opportunities for Growth

In my work building the capacity of educators to serve English language learners (ELLs), I find myself tackling a common issue with my clients across districts and states: "This student is not proficient yet; he/she has a lot of errors and makes a lot of mistakes." While we educators are challenged with increasingly high academic standards, the pressure to perform in evaluation systems and many other stressors, understanding language development isn't always on the proverbial radar even when the concern for student progress is.     Yes, ELL students make lots of "mistakes" which, frankly put, is an expected part of the...

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'Language Snapshot' to Measure English Language Development

'Language Snapshot' to Measure English Language Development

English Language Learners (ELLs) greatly benefit from an English Language Development (ELD) assessment approach that focuses on growth over time of the complex and nuanced process of developing academic language.  While schools typically already have an array of summative and interim assessment measures in place, we often lack “fair and square” assessment that builds on ELLs’ strengths and shows growth over time.  In a previous blog, I wrote about the need for a more equitable and valid “photo album” approach to ELL assessment.  In this post, I will share specific strategies for formative language assessment that can show student growth over time, help teachers plan...

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