ESL Corner: Study Tracks Progress of English Learners





About two-thirds of kindergarten EL students knew and used minimal English when they entered school: 49% of the kindergarten EL students placed at the lowest English language proficiency (ELP) level at entrance to school (ELP Level 1), and an additional 19% placed at ELP Level 2. About 32% of the kindergarteners placed at ELP Levels 3, 4, 5, or 6.

​The percentage of students who were more proficient in English at school entry increased across cohorts between 2008–09 and 2011–12: 27% of students in the 2008–09 cohort placed at ELP Level 3 or above, compared to 41% of students in the 2011–12 cohort.

​ Almost 60% of kindergarten EL students achieved English proficiency within four years of starting school. By the end of first grade, 12% of the ELs who had entered in kindergarten had achieved English proficiency, and an additional 17% were proficient by the end of second grade. By the end of third grade, an additional 30% had reached English proficiency.

Some groups of students were more likely than others to achieve proficiency within four years. English proficiency rates were higher among female students and students who were not identified with a disability. Relative to Spanish speakers, students who spoke Arabic, Chinese, Khmer, or Vietnamese were more likely to achieve English proficiency within four years.

Students who were more proficient in English when they entered school were more likely to reach proficiency within four years: 53% of students who entered at ELP Level 1 reached proficiency within four years, compared to 62% and 68% of students who entered at ELP Levels 2 and 3, respectively.

More students became proficient in oral language than in literacy. Within four years, 81% of kindergarten ELs were proficient in oral language, compared to 63% in literacy. A key driver of the lower proficiency rate in literacy is writing, with a 48% proficiency rate.

The full report can be downloaded at



How to ensure your EAL learners are making progress


Discussing the following areas:

  • Language development
  • Sociocultural development
  • Academic development
  • Cognitive development
  • Change the terminology


Resources for Teaching English-Language Learners From literacy instruction to arts and technology integration, explore strategies for engaging English-language learners


Find the following at:

BICS and CALP Explained by Cummins


What better way to learn about theoretical constructs than by the person who invented them?  Watch the video here to learn about BICS and CALP:

<p><a href=”″>Dr Jim Cummins explains the differences between BICS and CALP.</a> from <a href=””>Teach Away Inc.</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Language Acquisition and Learning, a Discussion of Psychological Aspects


Read an interesting article here about the role of immersion on language proficiency.  Read “Learning Languages in the Classroom and “in the Wild”.  Second language learning and embodied cognition” here

Learning English isn’t Enough


Reclaiming The Language for Social Justice

By  Dr. Timothy Boals , WIDA Executive Director, Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER), University of Wisconsin-Madison

Originally published for WCER on December 2, 2013.  The original post is here. 

For years we’ve heard the debate about whether teachers should use bilingual or English-only instruction when teaching English Language Learners (ELLs). This debate overlooks a more important issue: How can educators ensure ELLs’ overall academic success—not merely their acquisition of basic English?

The argument about educating ELLs is often more political than pedagogical. Framing the issue in terms of which approach is best for “learning English” has misled educators and the public. Learning English is simply not enough when the majority of students are also learning math, science, social studies, the regular English language arts curriculum, and many other subjects.

Policy makers and the public remain largely unconvinced of the role of the student’s native language and the need…

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Socratic Circles and the Common Core: An Introduction (Part I


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