Key Issues Related to the Assessment of ELLs

TraceyTeaches

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Hello Everyone!
I am a fifth-grade ELA teacher in a Philadelphia Charter School. When the pandemic hit and schools closed, I decided to go to Capella University and earn a master's degree in English Language Learning and Teaching. In my current course, we are examining assessment and instruction for English language learners. Throughout my previous and current courses, I have been researching and examining strategies that are effective toward meeting the needs of English language learners and culturally and linguistically diverse learners. Creating and monitoring this post is a course requirement, so I appreciate your advice and interaction with this post. In your experiences, what do you feel are are greatest challenges concerning the assessment of ELLs? What strategies have been successful for you? I thank you in advance for your input and feedback.
 

Tdol

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I feel outcomes in terms of how people benefit from courses in terms of improved professional/life opportunities are not looked at enough.
 

jutfrank

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Hi Tracy Teaches. What does the following mean?:

I am a fifth-grade ELA teacher in a Philadelphia Charter School.

What's fifth grade? What's an ELA teacher? What's a Charter school?
 

probus

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If I may answer in part for Tracy, fifth grade is AmE for the fifth year or class of primary education. The pupils should all have their eleventh birthday during that school year.

Presumably ELA stands for English Language Arts. I'll leave the explanation of Charter Schools to our American friends.
 
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TraceyTeaches

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I am sorry for any confusion. As explained by probus, fifth grade represents the fifth year of primary education. At this time, in my school, the students switch classes and have different teachers for different subjects. I am the ELA teacher which stands for English Language Arts. I focus on instruction that includes reading, writing, listening, and speaking. A charter school is a publicly funded independent school that has been established by a group under the terms of a charter with local authority. This means that I do not work in a private school, but it also does not follow the public school system entirely either. Our charter allows a specific focus on problem solving and science. Another component of our school is that we service areas of Philadelphia in which the schools and neighborhoods are deemed unsafe. We provide transportation that delivers students to a safe school and neighborhood.
 

Tdol

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Are you teaching them in separate classes or working in their subject classes?
 

TraceyTeaches

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I work with ELLs in a subject class with mixed-ability levels.
 

Tdol

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That's a policy I have never been a fan of. It seems that the drive towards equality has achieved some inequality. Students used to be taken to learn English separately before they joined the mainstream. This was regarded as discriminatory, but the solution does not seem to solve the original problem. If you have students of widely different levels in a subject class, how can you cope with them all, day in day out?
 

TraceyTeaches

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I do my best to meet the needs of all my students. In order to address the needs of mixed-ability students, I use a lot of differentiation. I use a lot of supplemental resources, like graphic organizers and I am always prepared to provide scaffolded support in some way. I do this by supplying sentence starters or sentence frames or I will work with small groups to provide more explicit instruction.
 

morganmb1234

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Hi!
One thing I find difficult as an English language learner teacher is finding time to differentiate assessments for different students. Being in a very diverse area, I have students with many backgrounds and on different English levels. They all deserve proper assessments, but it can sometimes be difficult to find the time to adapt all of the assessments to meet each child's individual needs.
 

Tdol

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I am afraid that this is a policy issue, and one that places a huge burden on teachers. In my opinion, it doesn't greatly benefit learners either.
 
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