Blog: Latino Ed Beat

California Releases Draft of New English Language Learner Standards

The California Department of Education has released a proposed set of K-12 English Language Development standards created for use with the state’s large population of public school students who are English language learners.

The draft standards are now available online for public review and comment. The State Board of Education is expected to act on the recommendations by September.

The standards are meant to be applied to ELL students regardless of the program they are enrolled in–whether they are in a mainstream classroom or a bilingual program. They are also meant to be a complement to the English language arts Common Core standards.

Education Week’s Lesli Maxwell notes that the standards come at a significant time, because California is one of several states trying to win a federal grant to design a new English language proficiency test.

The goal is to create standards that are simpler and higher than those currently used. The documents outline three English proficiency levels: emerging, expanding and bridging. There are also specific grade-by-grade standards provided.

“This goal is that EL(L) students read, analyze, interpret, and create a variety of literary  and informational text types,” the proposal reads. “They develop an understanding of how language is a complex,  dynamic, and social resource for making meaning and how content is organized in different text types and disciplines using text structure, language features, and vocabulary, depending on purpose and audience.”

The document mentions the challenges facing long-term English language learners, who have been in the system for five or more years. Legislation  calling for revised standards spurred development of the new proposal.