AnEnglish language learner is a student whose native language is not English and maycome from a non-English speaking home. These students are allowed theopportunity to receive specialized or modified instruction. When students areenrolled in the English Language as a Second Language (ESL) program their gradesare determined by their level of English proficiency and being providedappropriate scaffolds and linguistic supports. There are four stages of Englishlanguage proficiency levels, which include beginning, intermediate, advanced,and advanced high. “All students who enter the Fort Worth ISD inprekindergarten through 8th grade may be placed in a Bilingual orESL program and will reach full proficiency in English within 5 years as wellas pass every required academic test” according to the Fort Worth ISDbilingual/ESL website. When the students are first enrolled in the school thatI observed in, the parents decide which program to place their child in (bilingualor ESL) or to deny.
Students go to a language center where they are assessedand their placement is given. Mrs. Banis did not fully know much informationabout their exam since it is not done on campus. Thereare four components of communicative competence, grammatical, sociolinguistic,discourse, and strategic. Grammatical proficiency is the mastery of soundsystems of language. This includes syntax, semantics, and vocabularycomprehension. Sociolinguistic proficiency is the mastery of appropriate formsand styles of language.
Discourse is the ability to connect utterances andrelate it to proper topics. Lastly,strategic proficiency is the ability to make proper breakdowns in communication.Itis the school district’s responsibility to assess student’s languageproficiency. This is required by Federal legislation. The results of language proficiency tests areused to place students in an appropriate academic setting and used are used todecide if the student needs to be reclassified as English proficient. Studentsare first measured in language proficiency with home surveys. Home languagesurveys are sent to parents and guardian’s to find out if the family speaksEnglish at home or not. If another language is spoken at home, the students’English proficiency is tested using a standardized language proficiency test.
Languageproficiency tests can be either discrete or integrative test. Discrete tests checkthe mastery of phonemes and morphemes. Integrative tests access students’ability to use language to communicate. It can be very challenging to assessstudents’ English proficiency.
Only trained and certified professionals areallowed to do so. Stages ofLanguage Proficiency Based on TELPAS Iwas unable to access the information on who administers the TELPAS test and thesetting. However, I was able to find plenty information online about the exam.The TELPAS aligns with the Texas English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS),which are part of Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). The TELPAS assessmentsare both performance-based and holistically rated. The exception is the readingassessments by students in grades 2-12.
TheTexas English Language Proficiency Assessment System (TELPAS) is where limitedEnglish proficient students progress in learning English is assessed. Studentsin kindergarten through 12th grade take this exam. Students’performance in listening, speaking, reading, and writing are assessed annually.Students’ performance is then rated by the four English language proficiencylevels; beginning, intermediate, advanced, and advanced high.
The results areused to help monitor students’ progress, report school performance, evaluateprograms, resources, districts, and campuses, and inform instructional planningand discuss each individuals program exit decision.Ifa student is classified as English proficiency based on the criteria parentshave the option to accept or deny serves offered by the district. However, thestudents will still be considered as a limited proficiency in English (LEP). These students will participate in the sameassessment programs ESL and bilingual students must take such as the TELPAS.They will continue to do so until they meet the criteria to be classified as anon-limited English proficiency student. In Mrs. Banis’ class, there are 3 ESL denials, two of which who are alsospecial education.
Teachers including Mrs. Banis will collect samples ofstudents’ academic writing. She also pays attention to their oral languageability. The TELPAS reading test may be inappropriate for special educationstudents (depending on their disability), so may be exempt.
The decision Ismade by the ARD committee along with the students’ individual education program(IEP). In rare cases, students may be exempted from participating in an Englishlanguage proficiency assessment. LEPstudents who are served by special education Studentswho receive the rating of a beginning level characteristically have a little tono vocabulary in English both academically and socially. When students receivethe intermediate level rating students usually receive is they have basicEnglish abilities and can function in simple social and academic settings inroutine contexts. Students who receive a rating of advanced are able to engagein grade-appropriate academic instruction and can function above simple.
Lastly, students who have attained the level of advanced high receive minimalsecond language acquisition support and engage in all English academicinstruction at their grade level. Thereare two types of second language acquisition, basic interpersonal communicativeskills (BICS) and cognitive academic language proficiency (CALP). BICS iseveryday language both in social and routine classroom interactions. Examplesof BICS include following general classroom direction and speaking with peerssocially. CALP is the language that challenges students to think critically andunderstand new concepts.
Examples of CALP include expressing their opinions andcan follow specific directions. Observation:Implementation of ELPSEnglishlanguage proficiency standards identify the communication skills that studentsneed to learn in order to understand and speak English in grade-level academicinstruction. In a sense, it is an outline of English proficiency levels and theexpectations placed on the English language learner. Effective education insecond language acquisition involves providing English language learners manyopportunities to read, listen, speak, and write in English at their appropriatelevel. A successful English language student must develop academically andsocially.
One requirement of the school district includes providing studentswith both the knowledge and skills in the obligatory curriculum and is accommodatedfor each student’s individual level of English language proficiency. As I observed Mrs. Banis’ class Iviewed a few ELPS strategies that she incorporated into her lesson. One lesson,in particular, was the vocabulary words for the week about Native Americans. Thelesson began with them beginning to create a Native American booklet. On thefirst page, the students created KL chart which was (K- what they know) and (L-What they learned).
The L part will be filled out at a later time but studentsfilled in what they already know about Native Americans. She reminded students therewas no right or wrong answer. Once this was done she displayed the focus. Thefocus of this particular lesson was: I can use newly learned vocabulary. Thestudents watched a video and then, filled out the L part of their chart.
Thevocabulary this particular week included: native, migrate, culture, hunter,gatherer, agriculture, civilization, irrigation, and North America. Thestudents were divided up into teams to create a four-box vocabulary chart(Frayer Model). Each team was given a particular vocabulary word to complete.This is a type of graphic organizer perfect for vocabulary words. It consistsof a 2×2 grid with a box in the middle of the word. In the outside squares, thestudents drew an image, antonym/synonym/part of speech, wrote the word in asentence and lastly looked up the definition in a dictionary. Thestudents were very engaged during this lesson and learned how to cooperate anddivide work equally among themselves. Students knew it was expected of them toparticipate because she was watching them and if they did not do their fairshare of work they would get 50% off their grade.
Once students were work wascompleted their papers were placed on the back wall for all students to see.The “experts” on their words shared with their peers the information theyinformation and their work. Observation:Before-During-After Reading StrategiesTeachersuse different strategies for before, during, and after reading. Teachers usethese strategies to help students’ comprehension skills. Students must learn tofind the meaning in a text. While I wasobserving in Mrs.Banis’ class I took note on some of her before, during, andafter reading strategies. The flow of the lesson goes very well when thesestrategies are used.
Thestudents are learning about Native Americans. For this lesson on thisparticular day, Mrs. Banis introduced to her students the book they were goingto be reading. The title was The Legendof the Bluebonnet. A few students made a connection that the year priorthey were in a small play production based on the same book.
She told herstudents that they were now reporters and need to remember the facts of the Legendof the Bluebonnet. Duringthe reading, which was done using the Smartboard the students were alert. Thestudents were paying attention to key ideas such as the problem, who the storywas about, and how the problem was solved. After the book was finished, Mrs.Banis had students share and discuss with a partner what the book was about.This strategy is also known as think, pair, share. Then, she put up on the board that thestudents were going to be divided among their four literacy groups and eachgroup was to summarize using different strategies. Thestudents were to use the summarizing strategy- SWBSF, which stands forSomebody-Wanted-But-So- Finally.
The students had used this strategy prior soknew what to do. The groups were R-E-A-D. Group-R students were each given alarge post-it and were told to rite vertically the letters (SWBSF) and toanswer then create full sentences and lastly rewrite in their booklet all the sentencesto create a paragraph. Students in both group E and A were each given a bluepiece of paper to create a flipbook. The paper was folded in half and the frontwas cut into 5 different flaps labeled SWBSF. They could draw an image next toeach letter and when you flip open each flap they answered. When this wasfinished they turned them into sentences and then a paragraph.
Lastly,students in the group D were to meet Mrs. Banis at the back table to work on ittogether. She used a summarizing tool she created out of cardstock, a pipecleaner, and beads. The cardstock was labeled vertically Somebody-Wanted-But-So-Finallyand on the left-hand side inserted a piper cleanervertically with 5 different colored beads for each subject. She uses this sostudents can color-code and/or physically touch the bead to discuss the partsof summarizing. They were given a piece of paper for a flipbook as well, exceptthey worked on creating images/symbols for each. On the inside, they were towrite a sentence.
She used this as herguided-reading time for group D.