Educators across the Untied States (and across the globe for that matter) are immersed in aligning curriculum, instruction, and assessment to new standards with the goal of increasing student achievement and preparation for successful military, workforce, and university participation. A call for adopting rigorous standards in the US is nothing new. Educational organizations in areas such as technology, mathematics, and English have supported standards-based instruction for many years. In fact, the standards movement can be traced back past the National Commission on Excellence in Education’s Nation at Risk report received by President Reagan probably to Sputnik.
In the area of teaching English as Second or Other Language (ESOL), over 35 states, include South Carolina, have adopted new standards for English Language Learners (ELL’s) through The World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) Consortium. WIDA welcomed South Carolina via Twitter on Feb. 7, 2014. WIDA’s website provides information regarding the Consortium, such as its mission and history so I will not reiterate that information. However, I would like to highlight the English Language Development (ELD) standards as a way to draw attention to the ongoing need to provide differentiated instruction and assessment so that all students achieve ACADEMIC success so that they are prepared to successfully participate in careers or college upon graduation.
The WIDA Essential Actions Handbook describes how WIDA’s framework for English Language Development (ELD) Standards are aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) as well as content standards from states that did not adopt CCSS and/or NGSS but made attempts to replicate the rigor of the CCSS and/or NGSS. In short, the WIDA ELD Standards align with current State Standards to provide a robust level of expected learning for English Language Learner’s (ELL’s).
WIDA provides five English Language Development (ELD) Standards. The ELD Standards require that English Language Learners (ELL’s) communicate information, ideas, and concepts to be successful in the four core academic areas of ELA, Math, Science, and Social Studies.
The Five WIDA English Language Development (ELD) Standards
ELD Standard 1: English language learners communicate for Social and Instructional purposes within the school setting
ELD Standard 2: English language learners communicate information, ideas and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area of Language Arts.
ELD Standard 3: English language learners communicate information, ideas and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area of Mathematics.
ELD Standard 4: English language learners communicate information, ideas and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area of Science.
ELD Standard 5: English language learners communicate information, ideas and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area of Social Studies.
WIDA provides five levels of English language proficiency: Entering, Emerging, Developing, Expanding, and Bridging; and includes Model Performance Indicators (MPI’s) to distinguish proficiency levels along a scale.
Potential benefits from WIDA include: an alignment of ELL entry assessment with the annual re-assessment to evaluate current performance levels as well as a focus on teaching English through the content area standards.