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English Language Learners (ELL)

The English language learner (ELL) SCASS constitutes the only national, sustained forum among state education agencies, researchers, and policy experts on issues of standards and assessment for English language learners. The ELL SCASS explores issues of policy implementation, particularly focusing on the college- and career-ready academic standards and the English Language Proficiency standards of states, their respective assessment systems, and state policies that affect instruction, curriculum, professional supports and leadership for ELLs.  State members of the SCASS, in collaboration with advisor Kenji Hakuta determine specific issues of focus.  

Current areas of focus include:

  1. Implementation of college and career ready standards:  coordinating implementation of the Common Core State Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, and their corresponding state English language proficiency standards in statewide efforts to improve instruction for ELLs; learning from and providing input to the assessment consortia for CCSS (SBAC and PARCC) as well as the assessment consortia for ELP assessments (WIDA and ELPA21) as well as non-consortia member states.
  2. Federal policy and ESEA:  understanding the current state of federal policy that underlies the reauthorization of ESEA, the ESEA flexibility waivers, and implementation of the new standards and assessments in order to improve implementation and inform long-term planning;
  3. Special Education: understanding the relationships between RTI systems, instructional and intervention needs for ELLs (including Long Term English Learners), and instructional staffing for proper implementation.  Current activity includes the development of a paper articulating a research agenda from the perspective of states.
  4. Teacher Quality and Preparation: exploring new strategies to improve teacher preparation, professional development, and teacher evaluation systems.  Current activity includes the development of guidelines to modify current observation frameworks of teaching to include instructional settings the include ELL students.
  5. Early Childhood Education: identifying factors that impact early childhood education and the transition to Kindergarten, especially around issues of early childhood bilingualism, cultural diversity, assessment of program quality, and the proper assessment of children's school readiness.  We are exploring the development of a Massive Open Online Course aimed at professional development for early childhood education teachers serving dual language learners.

Face-to-face meetings, held every four months, typically involve members in the following activities:

  • Presentations by state teams to share best practices around:
    • alignment of system-wide reforms to new standards and assessments
    • professional development, and
    • policy implementation and continuous improvement
  • Updates from PARCC, SBAC regarding efforts to include ELLs, as well as other state collaborative efforts to develop next-generation ELP assessments aligned to the Common Core.
  • Federal Updates on key legislation and policy initiatives.
  • Cross-SCASS discussions with ELA, Math, Formative Assessment, Special Education, and Early Childhood regarding ELLs.
  • Briefings on up-to-date research and evaluation studies, and policy developments.These issues are addressed on a continuous cycle by the SCASS, drawing upon the expertise of national experts and capturing the experience and expertise of SCASS members.  In addition to the professional learning of members, Webex seminars are held between in-person meetings, and periodic policy implementation documents are issued to offer guidance to state practitioners.  

Advisor: Kenji Hakuta and Elsa Billings

The ELL SCASS is led by Kenji Hakuta, Stanford University, a national leader in research, policy and practice regarding ELLs.  Dr. Hakuta's guidance ensures state members,  affiliate members, and business partners a place in both the national discussion and in the necessary work to follow. 

ELL Members 12-2-14

Business Partners: AIR, Data Recognition Corporation, ETS, Measured Progress, NCEO, Questar, Renaissance Learing, Tri-Lin, and WIDA

Contact:Joe Crawfordjoe.crawford@ccsso.org202-312-6436