Federal PL 107-110, The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, Title IX, General Provisions, Part A Definitions, Section 9101(25)
The Education Alliance at Brown University. (2010). http://knowledgeloom.org/elemlit/ells_meetnds.jsp#ell3. Retrieved October 4, 2010.
U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2010). The Condition of Education 2010 (NCES 2010-028), Indicator 5.
Capps, R., Fix, M., Murray, J., Ost, J., Passel, J., & Herwantoro, S. (2005). The new demography of America’s schools: Immigration and the No Child Left Behind Act. Washington, D.C: The Urban Institute.
Unites States Department of Education. (2010). http://www2.ed.gov/about/inits/ed/edfacts/state-profiles/georgia.pdf. Retrieved October 4, 2010.
ESOL. (n.d.). The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition. Retrieved October 05, 2010, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/ESOL
ESOL. Georgia Department of Education (n.d.). http://www.gadoe.org/ci_iap_esol.aspx. Retrieved October 4, 2010.
ESOL Presentation - Mercer University
Issues & Concerns presented
by Carla Coppett, Sharon
Harmon, & Mary Shallenberger
“The responsibility for the ELLs’ whole education,
both in language and academic content, is shared
by regular classroom teachers and English
language assistance teachers alike. English
language assistance professionals may include
ESOL teachers as well as other instructional staff
who provide services to ELLs. Classroom teachers
and ESOL teachers and other support staff should
plan jointly to determine instructional modifications
needed to make language and content as
comprehensible as possible throughout the whole
school day for ELLs. As a result, all teachers
function as language teachers when ELLs are
enrolled in their classes”(GA Department of
English language learner refers to a
person who has a first (home,
primary, or native) language other
than English and is in the process
of acquiring English.
Other Terms Used to Refer to
English Language Learners:
• language minority students
• English as a second language (ESL)
• culturally and linguistically diverse
• limited English proficient students
(A) Children aged 3 through 21
(B) Enrolled or preparing to enroll in an elementary
school or secondary school
(C) (i) Not born in the United States or whose native
language is a language other than English; (ii) (I) A
Native American or Alaska Native, or a native resident
of the outlying areas; and (II) who comes from an
environment where a language other than English has
had a significant impact on the individual's level of
English language proficiency; or (iii) who is migratory,
whose native language is a language other than
English, and who comes from an environment where
a language other than English is dominant; and
Who Are English Language
(D) Difficulties in speaking, reading, writing, or
understanding the English language may be sufficient
to deny the individual-- (i) the ability to meet the
state's proficient level of achievement on state
assessments described in section 1111(b)(3); (ii) the
ability to successfully achieve in classrooms where
the language of instruction is English; or (iii) the
opportunity to participate fully in society.
Who Are English Language
Learners (ELLs)? (cont’d)
English language learners are a diverse group.
They differ from one another in many ways:
Length of residence
Some ELLs are new to the United States.
Many ELLs were born in the U.S. or have been living in
the U.S. for many years in households where family
members and caretakers speak a language other than
English. Although English may be these children's
dominant language, they may not have developed the
oral and written language skills or the vocabulary
needed to function successfully at grade level in
English academic settings.
Characteristics of ELLs:
Literacy skills and previous schooling
Young ELLs in the U.S. frequently face an enormous
challenge of acquiring the initial concepts and skills of
literacy through English, a language they have not
Some ELLs have already acquired and developed
literacy and academic skills in their home language(s).
Once we know how to read, we can transfer our
reading skills to other languages that we learn. Some
ELLs have not experienced consistent schooling or
appropriate instruction. This compounds the
difficulties they face reading and writing English.
Some ELLs already know some English when they arrive
in the U.S., while others are having their first
encounter with English.
Characteristics of ELLs: (cont’d)
Some ELLs have a primary language that resembles
English in word order, sound system, and word
formation patterns. Other students' languages may be
very different from English in these respects. Spanish,
French, and Portuguese have more in common with
English than do Swahili or Vietnamese.
Some ELLs have a primary language that shares
commonalties with English such as the use of Roman
alphabet and left-to-right print directionality (e.g.,
Italian and Polish). Other students' languages differ
greatly from English with different alphabets (e.g.,
Hebrew and Russian), directionalities (e.g., Hebrew),
or non-alphabetic writing systems (e.g., Chinese).
Characteristics of ELLs: (cont’d)
Primary languages – cont’d
Some ELLs have a primary language that shares cognate
or sister words with English. For example, the
following pairs of English and Spanish words are
cognates: observe/observar, anniversary/aniversario,
Similarities between learners' home languages and
English tend to make initial learning of English easier,
whereas differences make the process more difficult.
Characteristics of ELLs: (cont’d)
Like all children, ELLs vary in their nutrition and care
histories, family structure and stability, household
composition, parental education and socioeconomic
status, neighborhood and community resources,
exposure to literacy, life experiences, knowledge,
cultural norms, abilities, and dispositions.
ELLs bring with them varied cultural experiences that
have shaped their notions of appropriate adult-child
ELLs differ from each other in their previous literacy
experiences. For example, a chronological narration
of events is highly valued in U.S. schools, while in
other settings narratives are judged on imagery,
poetics, word play, contextual details, or other criteria.
Characteristics of ELLs: (cont’d)
United States ELL Statistics:
Between 1979 and 2008, the number of school-
age children (children ages 5-17) who spoke a
language other than English at home increased
from 3.8 to 10.9 million, or from 9 to 21
percent of the population in this age range. An
increase (from 18 to 21 percent) was also
evident during the more recent period of 2000
through 2008. After increasing from 3 to 6
percent between 1979 and 2000, the
percentage of school-age children who spoke a
language other than English at home and who
spoke English with difficulty decreased to 5
percent in 2008.
More ELL Statistics:
Approximately 79 percent of ELLs nationally are from
While English learners reside throughout the United
States, they are heavily concentrated in the six states
of Arizona, California, Texas, New York, Florida, and
These six states contain 61percent of the nation’s ELL
In addition, the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico accounts
for another 1 percent of the U.S. ELL population.
Even More ELL Statistics:
Despite the high concentration in six states, other
states have experienced a 300 percent or higher
growth of ELLs in a ten-year period from 1995 to
2005. These states include Alabama, Indiana,
Kentucky, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Carolina
California educates one-third of all the nation’s ELL
students – 1.6 million students
85 percent of all ELLs in California are Spanish
More ELLs in both Elementary and Secondary
schools are U.S. born
Georgia ELL Statistics:
80,890 students in grades K – 12 were reportedly
receiving language support services through English
to Speakers to Other Languages (ESOL). This
accounts for 4.9% of total student population.
In 1999, the enrollment of English Language Learners
was 30,977, according to the U.S. Department of
The United States Institute of Educational Statistics
ranks Georgia’s eighth in the nation when listing the
states by the number of ELLs enrolled in elementary
and secondary language support programs.
Currently there are 1,962 teachers in Georgia , who
teach at least one segment of ESOL.
• The Federal Bilingual Education Act of 1968
was replaced with the 2002 English Acquisition
• Title III is a federally funded program which
provides eligible Local Education Agencies
(LEAs) with sub-grants to provide
supplemental services for ELLs
• The Federal Government does not dictate how
states are to instruct ELLs, but that instruction
must be provided
• English to Speakers of Other Languages
(ESOL) is a state funded instructional program
for eligible English Language Learners (ELLs) in
grades K-12 (Georgia School Law Section 20-
2-156 Code 1981, Sec. 20-2-156, enacted in
• In the event the LEA does not have a sufficient
number of ELLs, the LEA must gain funding
through Georgia Title III Consortium
Both ESOL and Title III hold students accountable
for progress in English language proficiency
and evidence of attainment of English language
proficiency sufficient to exit ESOL services.
Definition of ESOL:
English to speakers of other
languages: a field of language
training including EFL and ESL.
(The American Heritage
Abbreviations Dictionary, 2005)
ESOL Program in Georgia:
The ESOL Program is a standards-based
curriculum emphasizing social and academic
language proficiency. The curriculum is based
on the integration of the WIDA Consortium
English Language Proficiency Standards with
the Georgia Performance Standards. This
integration will enable English Language
Learners (ELLs) to use English to communicate
and demonstrate academic, social, and cultural
proficiency. It is critical that instructional
approaches, both in ESOL and general
education classes, accommodate the needs of
Georgia’s ELLs. To the extent practicable, it is
appropriate to use the home language as a
means of facilitating instruction for English
language learners and parental notification.
Approved ESOL Program Models:
• Push-in, during content block with general
education teacher and ESOL specialist
• Pull-out, outside of content block, “hands off”
math and language arts blocks, 1 to 2 students
at a time
• Scheduled class period of ELL students only
receiving language and/or content instruction
(middle & high school)
• Lab or Resource in a group setting
• ESOL cluster center where students are
transported to receive intensive language
• Alternative route with approval from the
Department of Education
Literacy Programs Currently
Used in the United States:
• English Only Instruction
• English as a Second Language (ESL) – English
instruction with intense tutoring in English
• Developmental Bilingual Education - instruction
in both languages as English is acquired
• Transitional – begins in native language,
switching to English in 2nd or 3rd grade
• Dual Language – instruction in both languages,
Teachers of English to Speakers
of Other Languages (TESOL):
Position Statement on Language and Literacy
Development for Young ELL (ages 3-8)
1. Literacy in a second language is supported
by literacy in the native language
2. English literacy is an on-going process and
should not be rushed
3. Materials should be designed to meet
cultural and linguistic needs
4. Reading comprehension advances when
skill instruction in an understandable
language and whole text experiences are
5. Reliable, valid, fair, on-going, and
culturally responsive assessments with a
variety of tools should be used
6. Professional training in linguistic and
cultural diversity and principles of first and
second language development for
Teaching in English Only
“Proponents of the ballot initiatives
mandating sheltered English immersion
argue that bilingual education is the
reason for low levels of English proficiency
among immigrant students—especially
Latinos, the group served by the vast
majority of the bilingual programs. They
claim that bilingual education slows down
English acquisition, thus contributing to
the high dropout rates among Latinos.
Because bilingual education is the
problem, getting rid of bilingual instruction
is the solution” (Mora, 2009).
No Child Left Behind:
• “Federal and state laws require that all
students participate in the state-mandated
assessment program, including… English
language learners (ELL)... (Georgia
Department of Education, 2010).
• “The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001
(NCLB) requires that all children, including
English language learners (ELLs), reach
high standards by demonstrating
proficiency in English language arts and
mathematics by 2014” (Abedi & Dietel,
Are ELL Students Prepared for
• The challenges for English language
learners are especially difficult, involving
both educational and technical issues,
– Historically low ELL performance and slow
– Measurement accuracy.
– Instability of the ELL student subgroup.
– Factors outside of a school’s control.
Historically Low ELL Performance
and Slow Improvement. . .
• Consistently perform lower than other
• Tests are given in English
• Test measure students achievement and
ability to read English.
• Minimal accommodations are available to
ELL students while taking standardized
– Accommodations offered during regular
instructional time may be allowed during
testing if approved by district.
Does the Test Reflect Student
Knowledge or Ability to Read
• “Modifying, oftentimes simplifying the
language of the test items has consistently
resulted in ELL performance improvement
without reducing the rigor of the test”
(Abedi & Dietel, 2004).
• Tests translated into the students’ native
language showed an even greater
improvement in scores.
Instability of the ELL Student
Subgroup. . .
• High achieving students are removed from the
• Only low achieving student test scores are
reflected in the “ELL” category.
• “U.S. Department of Education recently
approved NCLB plans [for students to remain]
in the ELL subgroup until they have reached
the proficient level on the English language
arts section of the state achievement test for
several consecutive years” (Abedi & Dietel,
– This will assist in improving reported ELL scores and
achievement to meet adequate yearly progress required
Factors Outside of a School’s
Control. . .
• Research has shown that “. . . nonschool
factors, usually parent education level and
socioeconomic status, outweigh school
factors in their effect on student
achievement” (Abedi & Dietel, 2004).
• Nonschool factors increase the chance of
failure for ELL students.
Suggestions for Improvement:
• Focus on reading
• “Closely track ELL performance. . . to
identify patterns of improvement or lack
of improvement. . .” (Abedi & Dietel,
• Modify test language
• Encourage test accommodations
TEACHERS OF ELL STUDENTS FACE SIGNIFICANT CHALLENGES IN THE CLASSROOM. CONTINUED
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT IS KEY TO ADDRESS THESE CHALLENGES. WHILE THE DEBATE
CONTINUES ON THE BEST WAY TO EDUCATE ELLS, TEACHERS WILL HAVE TO MAKE PERSONAL CHOICES
REGARDING CURRICULUM. REGARDLESS OF ONE’S PERSONAL BELIEFS, WE MUST REMEMBER TO BE
CULTURALLY SENSITIVE AND STRIVE TO MAKE DECISIONS BASED ON THE ACADEMIC AND
DEVELOPMENTAL LEVELS OF EACH CHILD.
Abedi, J., and Dietel, R. 2004. Challenges in the No Child Left Behind Act for English
language learners. CRESST Policy Brief 7 (Winter). Retieved from
Capps, R., Fix, M., Murray, J., Ost, J., Passel, J., & Herwantoro, S. (2005). The new
demography of America’s schools: Immigration and the No Child Left Behind Act.
Washington, D.C: The Urban Institute.
Farver, J., Lonigan, C., & Epppe, S. (2009). Effective early literacy skill development
for young spanish-speaking english language learners: an experimental study of
two methods. Child Development 80 (3). Retrieved Ebscohost.
Karathonos, K. (2009). Exploring us mainstream teachers’ perspectives on use of the
native language in instruction with english language learner students.
International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism 12 (6) Retrieved
Mora, J. (2009). From the ballot box to the classroom. Educational Leadership 66
(7). Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-
The Education Alliance at Brown University. (2010).
http://knowledgeloom.org/elemlit/ells_meetnds.jsp#ell3. Retrieved October 4,
Federal PL 107-110, The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, Title IX, General Provisions, Part A
Definitions, Section 9101(25)
Georgia Department of Education, (2010). Title III ESOL Resource Guide 2010-2011.
Retrieved from http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/DMGetDocument.aspx/2010-
Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages. (2010). Position Paper on
Language and Literacy Development for Young English Language Learners (ages
3 – 8). Retrieved from www.tesol.org.
Unites States Department of Education. (2010).
October 4, 2010.
U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2010). The
Condition of Education 2010 (NCES 2010-028), Indicator 5.
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