As eBooks continue to dominate the literary market and tablets take over our nightstands, new research pours in on the superiority of paper books: in December, Language Magazine reported on the detrimental effects of eReaders on sleep quality (see “Paper Books are Better in Bed”) and now researchers are analyzing the effects of eReading on our waking hours.
This fall, Pearson is launching TELL (Test of English Language Learning), a tablet-based assessment developed to help schools assess progress of English Language Learners (ELLs). TELL will employ one of the most tried and tested automated scoring technologies to give teachers quick access to the information they need to inform instruction, while providing district leaders with the data they need to meet state and federal reporting requirements.
“English language learners are the fastest growing student population in the U.S. and 60% of those students are in elementary school. When we talked to school and district assessment directors as well as English language teaching specialists from around the country, they emphasized the critical need for a new and engaging approach to measuring English language proficiency that accurately diagnoses students’ needs and monitors their progress,” said Alistair Van Moere, Ph.D., head of Pearson’s Assessment Product Solutions.
TELL is an interactive assessment. Students watch video clips and interact with pictures and words, then answer questions out loud. They listen, write, read, and speak — all with no mark-ups or grading by teachers. TELL screens, diagnoses, and monitors each ELL student’s progress throughout the school year.
Student responses — written and spoken — are automatically scored by Pearson’s automated scoring technologies, providing teachers with access to results within minutes. Over the past 15 years, Pearson’s spoken and written language assessment technologies have scored millions of responses and are supported by research studies that demonstrate that they score as accurately as an expert human grader.
Pearson senior product manager Paula Hidalgo, Ph.D., said, “We leveraged the power of our research-based automated scoring technologies combined with the interactivity of the tablet environment to develop a tool to measure students’ English language proficiency at key points during the school year in a flexible, reliable, and consistent way.”
The test can be used with just one student at a time, a small to large group, or for whole-class administration at the school or district level. The assessment is aligned to today’s rigorous standards.
February 20th, 2015 | 2 Comments
Stanford University Graduate School of Education and University of California Davis are offering a free, new MOOC: “Seven Essential Practices for Developing Academic Oral Language and Literacy in Every Subject” is now open for registration.
“Seven Essential Practices for Developing Academic Oral Language and Literacy in Every Subject” is a collaborative course offered by the Academic Language Development Network (ALDN). It will be co-taught by Language Magazine contributors Susan O’Hara (REEd), Jeff Zwiers (Stanford University), and Robert Pritchard (Sacramento State University).
This course facilitates the practical exploration and expertise-building of seven essential ALD (academic language development) practices that have been identified as being powerful for developing school language and literacy across grade levels and content areas and for supporting the implementation of new standards. The course focuses on three “high-impact” practices: Using complex texts; Fortifying complex output (written and oral); and Fostering academic interactions. These are supported by four essential practices: Clarifying; Modeling; Guiding; and Designing instruction. This course looks closely at the development of “language for content and content for language.” It organizes a massive collaboration of educators who wish to support students, particularly English Language Learners, in developing their abilities to use complex language.
The overall goal is for participating educators to better understand and develop the academic uses of language in school-based learning and apply what they learn in the future. The MOOC will begin on January 14 and end on June 14, and is open to educators in all states of the USA.
December 22nd, 2014 | Leave your comments
Researchers at London’s Institute of Education have found that children who are avid readers reap the rewards well into adulthood. The participants of the study who were avid readers as children scored significantly higher on vocabulary tests as adults.
November 14th, 2014 | Leave your comments
Lawmakers in Oklahoma have voted to repeal Common Core Standards for English and Mathematics, despite their introduction in over 40 other states.
The house voted 71-18 on Friday to reject the Common Core standards, replacing them with specific standards developed by the Oklahoma state Board of Education.
The bill was then passed by the Senate at a 31-10 vote and is now awaiting the signature of Gov. Mary Fallin to complete the state’s withdrawal.
May 28th, 2014 | Leave your comments
UNESCO has published a report explaining how mobile technology is used to facilitate reading and improve literacy in developing countries.
The report, Reading in the Mobile Era, highlights that hundreds of thousands of people currently use mobile technology as a portal to text. Findings show that in countries where illiteracy rates are high and physical text is scarce, large numbers of people read full-length books and stories on rudimentary small screen devices.
The report, the first-ever study of mobile readers in developing countries, provides valuable information about how mobile reading is practiced today and by whom.
Worldwide 774 million people, including 123 million youth, cannot read or write and illiteracy can often be traced to the lack of books. Most people in Sub-Saharan Africa do not own a single book, and schools in this region rarely provide textbooks to learners.
Yet the report cites data showing that where books are scarce, mobile technology is increasingly common, even in areas of extreme poverty. The International Telecommunication Union estimates that of the 7 billion people on Earth, 6 billion have access to a working mobile phone.
UNESCO’s study of mobile reading was conducted in seven developing countries, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. Drawing on the analysis of over 4,000 surveys and corresponding qualitative interviews, the study found that:
- large numbers of people (one third of study participants) read stories to children from mobile phones;
- females read far more on mobile devices than males (almost six times as much according to the study);
- both men and women read more cumulatively when they start reading on a mobile device;
- many neo- and semi-literate people use their mobile phones to search for text that is appropriate to their reading ability.
The study is intended as a roadmap for governments, organizations, and individuals who wish to use mobile technology to help spread reading and literacy. The report recommends improving the diversity of mobile reading content to appeal to specific target groups such as parents and teachers; initiating outreach and trainings to help people transform mobile phones into portals to reading material; and lowering costs and technology barriers to mobile reading.
May 25th, 2014 | 8 Comments
First Book, a non-profit organization that provides access to new books and educational resources for programs serving children in need, has an expanded selection of Latino interest books on the First Book Marketplace, including a new Latino Culture section. First Book is offering a limited-time funding opportunity to help schools and community organizations give the gift of reading to the children and families they serve. Just follow these easy steps:
Step 2: Visit the First Book Marketplace and fill your shopping cart with $200 worth of your choice of books from the Latino Culture category. This includes the Latino Culture and Heritage Collection for Elementary School (a $200 value for $50 titles).
Step 3: Apply code LCC_WHlibros at checkout.
This is a first-come, first-serve opportunity that ends on March 15, 2014.
¡Feliz lectura! Happy Reading!
Questions? Contact the First Book Help Team by calling (866) READ-NOW or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
February 28th, 2014 | Leave your comments
“Constructive Classroom Conversations: Mastering the Language of the Common Core State Standards” is the title of the massive online open course (MOOC) which is being produced by Stanford University’s Understanding Language initiative.
Language Magazine contributor and co-director of the initiative, Kenji Hakuta will teach the MOOC with colleagues Jeff Zwiers and Sara Rutherford-Quach who are language experts, from October 21 through December 9.
This short course looks closely at student-to-student discourse and addresses how to facilitate student engagement in the types of interactions required by the new standards. It organizes a massive collaboration of educators who wish to support students, particularly English Language Learners, to co-create and build upon each other’s ideas as they interact with the content. Starting with the notion that in order to improve the quality of student discourse, educators need to listen closely to existing talk, the course asks participants to gather, analyze, and share examples of student conversations from their classrooms. The overall goal is for participating educators to better understand student-student classroom discourse and use what they learn to facilitate higher quality interactions that build disciplinary knowledge and skills.
The four main objectives of this course are for participants to:
1/Develop a practical understanding of academically-engaged classroom discourse, with emphasis on what this looks like in linguistically diverse classrooms that are focused on teaching Common Core State Standards;
2/Listen more carefully to student talk and use a discourse analysis tool to analyze student discourse, focusing on how interactions build disciplinary language, knowledge, and skills;
3/ Learn and practice practical teaching strategies for building students’ abilities to engage in constructive face-to-face interactions;
4/ Collaborate with other educators and build professional relationships that result in an online community focused on improving students’ abilities to engage rich academic discourse across disciplines and grade levels.
September 17th, 2013 | 3 Comments
The English Language Learners (ELLs) attending schools in the member districts of the Council of the Great City Schools account for nearly one-quarter of all ELLs in the nation. Specifically, in 2007-08, Council-member districts enrolled about 1.2 million ELLs in grades K–12—or 23.8 percent of the 4.7 million estimated ELLs in the nation’s K-12 public schools (using the 2006–2008 U.S. Biennial Report on ELLs).
“English Language Learners in America’s Great City Schools: Demographics, Achievement and Staffing,” a new report by the Council presents the results of a yearlong effort to compile data on ELL enrollment and programs in the Great City School districts. Much of the data were collected from the membership via survey in 2012. Some 70.8 percent of the membership responded (46 of 65 districts who were members at the time the survey was conducted), but not every district responded to every question. In appendix F of this report, we list the specific districts responding to each question. The responses provide a picture of ELL enrollment across the 46 responding districts, including total numbers, percentages, enrollment by school level, languages spoken, and ELLs receiving special education services.
Professor Stephen Krashen notes three of the report’s findings with very short comments on his website:
1. “The results showed wide gaps in reading and mathematics between ELLs and non-ELLs.”
Comment: If the results did not show gaps between ELLs and non-ELLs, the ELLs would not be ELLs.
2. ” …. trend lines suggest that ELLs have not made meaningful progress academically between 2005 and 2011 …”.
Comment: We would not expect ELLs as a group to “improve”; when ELLs make sufficient progress, they are reclassified as non-ELL. The group average test score thus stays about the same.
3. “The percentage of ELLs scoring at or above proficient in grade 4 reading in large cities remained stagnant from 2005 to 2011, with only about five to six percent scoring at or above proficient” (p. 73).
Comment: This means that five to six percent have been misclassified. A student who scores proficient or above should not be classified as ELL.
July 21st, 2013 | Leave your comments
Rebecca Blum-Martínez offers a strategy to help English learners cope with the more complex language requirements of the Common Core
The adoption of the Common Core Standards (CCSS) by many states has brought the issue of complex texts to the forefront. The questions for teachers, administrators, and teacher educators have become “How does one revise the curriculum so that complex texts are included as a part of everyday school life?” and “How does one teach students to interact with complex texts, particularly those who are struggling readers?” These questions are intensified for English learners (ELs), who now make up 21% or more of the public school population, depending on the region or school district (http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=96).
For the complete story, click here.