English language learner is a student whose native language is not English and may
come from a non-English speaking home. These students are allowed the
opportunity to receive specialized or modified instruction. When students are
enrolled in the English Language as a Second Language (ESL) program their grades
are determined by their level of English proficiency and being provided
appropriate scaffolds and linguistic supports. There are four stages of English
language proficiency levels, which include beginning, intermediate, advanced,
and advanced high.
“All students who enter the Fort Worth ISD in
prekindergarten through 8th grade may be placed in a Bilingual or
ESL program and will reach full proficiency in English within 5 years as well
as pass every required academic test” according to the Fort Worth ISD
bilingual/ESL website. When the students are first enrolled in the school that
I observed in, the parents decide which program to place their child in (bilingual
or ESL) or to deny. Students go to a language center where they are assessed
and their placement is given. Mrs. Banis did not fully know much information
about their exam since it is not done on campus.
are four components of communicative competence, grammatical, sociolinguistic,
discourse, and strategic. Grammatical proficiency is the mastery of sound
systems of language. This includes syntax, semantics, and vocabulary
comprehension. Sociolinguistic proficiency is the mastery of appropriate forms
and styles of language. Discourse is the ability to connect utterances and
relate it to proper topics. Lastly,
strategic proficiency is the ability to make proper breakdowns in communication.
is the school district’s responsibility to assess student’s language
proficiency. This is required by Federal legislation. The results of language proficiency tests are
used to place students in an appropriate academic setting and used are used to
decide if the student needs to be reclassified as English proficient. Students
are first measured in language proficiency with home surveys. Home language
surveys are sent to parents and guardian’s to find out if the family speaks
English at home or not. If another language is spoken at home, the students’
English proficiency is tested using a standardized language proficiency test. Language
proficiency tests can be either discrete or integrative test. Discrete tests check
the mastery of phonemes and morphemes. Integrative tests access students’
ability to use language to communicate. It can be very challenging to assess
students’ English proficiency. Only trained and certified professionals are
allowed to do so.
Language Proficiency Based on TELPAS
was unable to access the information on who administers the TELPAS test and the
setting. 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 assessments
are both performance-based and holistically rated. The exception is the reading
assessments by students in grades 2-12.
Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment System (TELPAS) is where limited
English proficient students progress in learning English is assessed. Students
in 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 proficiency
levels; beginning, intermediate, advanced, and advanced high. The results are
used to help monitor students’ progress, report school performance, evaluate
programs, resources, districts, and campuses, and inform instructional planning
and discuss each individuals program exit decision.
a student is classified as English proficiency based on the criteria parents
have the option to accept or deny serves offered by the district. However, the
students will still be considered as a limited proficiency in English (LEP). These students will participate in the same
assessment 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 a
non-limited English proficiency student.
In Mrs. Banis’ class, there are 3 ESL denials, two of which who are also
special education. Teachers including Mrs. Banis will collect samples of
students’ academic writing. She also pays attention to their oral language
ability. The TELPAS reading test may be inappropriate for special education
students (depending on their disability), so may be exempt. The decision Is
made by the ARD committee along with the students’ individual education program
(IEP). In rare cases, students may be exempted from participating in an English
language proficiency assessment.
students who are served by special education
who receive the rating of a beginning level characteristically have a little to
no vocabulary in English both academically and socially. When students receive
the intermediate level rating students usually receive is they have basic
English abilities and can function in simple social and academic settings in
routine contexts. Students who receive a rating of advanced are able to engage
in grade-appropriate academic instruction and can function above simple.
Lastly, students who have attained the level of advanced high receive minimal
second language acquisition support and engage in all English academic
instruction at their grade level.
are two types of second language acquisition, basic interpersonal communicative
skills (BICS) and cognitive academic language proficiency (CALP). BICS is
everyday language both in social and routine classroom interactions. Examples
of BICS include following general classroom direction and speaking with peers
socially. CALP is the language that challenges students to think critically and
understand new concepts. Examples of CALP include expressing their opinions and
can follow specific directions.
Implementation of ELPS
language proficiency standards identify the communication skills that students
need to learn in order to understand and speak English in grade-level academic
instruction. In a sense, it is an outline of English proficiency levels and the
expectations placed on the English language learner. Effective education in
second language acquisition involves providing English language learners many
opportunities to read, listen, speak, and write in English at their appropriate
level. A successful English language student must develop academically and
socially. One requirement of the school district includes providing students
with both the knowledge and skills in the obligatory curriculum and is accommodated
for each student’s individual level of English language proficiency.
As I observed Mrs. Banis’ class I
viewed a few ELPS strategies that she incorporated into her lesson. One lesson,
in particular, was the vocabulary words for the week about Native Americans. The
lesson began with them beginning to create a Native American booklet. On the
first 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 students
filled in what they already know about Native Americans. She reminded students there
was no right or wrong answer. Once this was done she displayed the focus. The
focus of this particular lesson was: I can use newly learned vocabulary. The
students watched a video and then, filled out the L part of their chart.
vocabulary this particular week included: native, migrate, culture, hunter,
gatherer, agriculture, civilization, irrigation, and North America. The
students 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 consists
of a 2×2 grid with a box in the middle of the word. In the outside squares, the
students drew an image, antonym/synonym/part of speech, wrote the word in a
sentence and lastly looked up the definition in a dictionary.
students were very engaged during this lesson and learned how to cooperate and
divide work equally among themselves. Students knew it was expected of them to
participate because she was watching them and if they did not do their fair
share of work they would get 50% off their grade. Once students were work was
completed their papers were placed on the back wall for all students to see.
The “experts” on their words shared with their peers the information they
information and their work.
Before-During-After Reading Strategies
use different strategies for before, during, and after reading. Teachers use
these strategies to help students’ comprehension skills. Students must learn to
find the meaning in a text. While I was
observing in Mrs.Banis’ class I took note on some of her before, during, and
after reading strategies. The flow of the lesson goes very well when these
strategies are used.
students are learning about Native Americans. For this lesson on this
particular day, Mrs. Banis introduced to her students the book they were going
to be reading. The title was The Legend
of the Bluebonnet. A few students made a connection that the year prior
they were in a small play production based on the same book. She told her
students that they were now reporters and need to remember the facts of the Legend
of the Bluebonnet.
the reading, which was done using the Smartboard the students were alert. The
students were paying attention to key ideas such as the problem, who the story
was 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 the
students were going to be divided among their four literacy groups and each
group was to summarize using different strategies.
students were to use the summarizing strategy- SWBSF, which stands for
Somebody-Wanted-But-So- Finally. The students had used this strategy prior so
knew what to do. The groups were R-E-A-D. Group-R students were each given a
large post-it and were told to rite vertically the letters (SWBSF) and to
answer then create full sentences and lastly rewrite in their booklet all the sentences
to create a paragraph. Students in both group E and A were each given a blue
piece of paper to create a flipbook. The paper was folded in half and the front
was cut into 5 different flaps labeled SWBSF. They could draw an image next to
each letter and when you flip open each flap they answered. When this was
finished they turned them into sentences and then a paragraph.
students in the group D were to meet Mrs. Banis at the back table to work on it
together. She used a summarizing tool she created out of cardstock, a pipe
cleaner, and beads. The cardstock was labeled vertically Somebody-Wanted-But-So-Finally
and on the left-hand side inserted a piper cleaner
vertically with 5 different colored beads for each subject. She uses this so
students can color-code and/or physically touch the bead to discuss the parts
of summarizing. They were given a piece of paper for a flipbook as well, except
they worked on creating images/symbols for each. On the inside, they were to
write a sentence. She used this as her
guided-reading time for group D.