English Language Learner (ELL) assessments are aimed at testing the knowledge of the students whose native language is not English. The ELL assessments are organized in six states including Arizona, California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Illinois (Guidelines for the Assessment 2009). The testing of knowledge of English is a complicated process. That is why the special guidelines have been developed to provide a coherent framework for the proper assessment.
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The aim of this essay is to describe the peculiarities of the ELL assessments in my native city.
First of all, it should be mentioned that I live in the city of Perris, California. My school name is Val Verde Unified School District. The system of education developed in the school district is highly appreciated not only in California but nationwide. The school provides the students with the ELL support service which is, undoubtedly, valuable for those students who are not native speakers.
The ELL program offered at my school is for the students who have the elementary and intermediate levels of knowledge in English as well as for those who achieved the advanced level. In the first case, the Structured English Immersion Program is appropriate as it meets the needs of the English learners who have not yet achieved the advanced level (Val Verde Unified n.d.).
In the second case, English Mainstream Classroom is a proper choice as it is developed for the students who have studied English for a quite long period of time and have a substantial knowledge (Val Verde Unified n.d.). Besides, there is one more ELL program option at my school. It is the alternative Bilingual program (Val Verde Unified n.d. ). “This option is designed for ELL’s entering VVUSD or for continuing students whose parents wish to waive into an alternative program” (Val Verde Unified n.d. par.3).
Special Education English Learners is the ELL program option for the students with special education (Val Verde Unified n.d.). The option assumes the engagement of the teachers who possess the knowledge and experience to meet the educational needs of those students.
The California English Development Test (CEDT) is used at my school to assess the ELL knowledge in writing, speaking, listening, and reading (Val Verde Unified n.d. ). The test is approved by the California Department of Education and assesses ELL students in five levels which are Beginning, Early Intermediate, Intermediate, Early Advanced, and Advanced (Val Verde Unified n.d.).
The test is based on the widely-accepted ELD standards which “set clear development benchmarks that reflect ELL students’ English language proficiency at various developmental stages” (Sato et al. 2012 n.pag.).
The reclassification process has been also developed in my school district.
“English Learners shall be classified as Reclassified Fluent-English Proficient (R-FEP) when they have acquired the English language skills necessary to receive instruction and achieve academic progress in only English” (Val Verde Unified n.d. par.8). The school district adopted the specially developed reclassification criteria measuring the level of knowledge in English. The criteria are based on the ELD guidelines and are categorized in the frameworks of the CEDT.
Besides, the follow-up and monitoring procedure is in place to control the development of ELL students’ knowledge. In particular, the procedure assumes testing the performance of the students and if it has been satisfactory for two years, the student is allowed finishing the program (Val Verde Unified n.d.).
The District English Learners Advisory Committee (DELAC), which is a part of the school district, is aimed at providing instructions to the ELL program teachers. In addition, the committee checks whether the teachers adhere to the instructions, create plans of the ELL program development, and review the notifications of parents (Val Verde Unified n.d.).
The teachers are encouraged to do all the necessary accommodations in daily assessments. In this respect, the ELD standards provide them with the aid instructions prescribing how to achieve the maximum results from students while making their learning process comfortable.
In particular, the teachers should care about giving to the students the materials which do not contain irrelevant information creating the misunderstanding. The test materials are reviewed for their match to the purpose of the assessment, lucid and coherent tasks presentation, and the accessibility of language, the formats, and the scoring criteria (Guidelines for the Assessment 2009).
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In order to facilitate the learning process, the ELL program teachers try to enrich the lessons with the interactive games and interesting tasks which contribute to the better processing of the study material. Moreover, the learning materials are structured in a way that simplifies the learning process, on the one hand, and makes each lesson as informative as possible, on the other hand.
In order to sum up all the above mentioned, it should be said that the English Language Learners programs are aimed at providing assistance to the non-native speakers in their studying of English. The programs are in place in six states, including California. My school district also offers several options for studying English in the frameworks of the ELL program. The assessments are an integral part of the ELL program, and they are based on the ELD guidelines.
Guidelines for the Assessment of English Language Learners (2009). Retrieved from http://gcumedia.com/lms-resources/student-success-center/writing-center/
Sato, E., Lagunoff, R., Camacho, Ch. & Spycher, P. (2012). California English Language Development Standards. Retrieved from http://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/el/er/documents/poemeeting062112.pdf#search=ELL%20assessment&view=FitH&pagemode=none
Val Verde Unified School District Goals for English Learners (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.valverde.edu/UserFiles/Servers/Server_88899/File/Parents/English%20Learners/ProgramOverview_English.pdf