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Program

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 connection of the standards and assessment system to state policies that affect instruction, curriculum, professional supports and leadership for ELLs.  State members of the SCASS, in collaboration with co-advisors Kenji Hakuta and Martha Castellón, 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 the newly emerging 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);
  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; 
  4. Teacher Quality and Preparation: exploring new strategies to improve teacher preparation, professional development, and teacher evaluation systems.  
  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.  

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

  • Close examination and policy-oriented discussions of key standards materials, including the Common Core, the Next Generation Science Standards, various state English language proficiency standards, the CCSSO English Language Proficiency Development Framework (a document that guides state examination of the correspondence between the state ELP standards with the Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards), and foundational papers from the Understanding Language Initiative.
  • Updates from PARCC, SBAC and the WIDA consortium 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, such as the National Evaluation of Title III Supplemental Report, 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.  

ELL Collaborative Advisor: Kenji Hakuta 

The ELL SCASS is led by Kenji Hakuta, Stanford University, a national leader in research, policy and practice regarding ELLs.  Working with Stanford colleague Martha Castellón (who is Executive Director for the Understanding Language Initiative), Dr. Hakuta's guidance ensures state, associate, and affiliate members a place in both the national discussion and in the necessary work to follow. 

2013-14 State Members: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming 

2013-14 Associate Members: AIR, CTB/McGraw-Hill, Data Recognition Corporation, and ETS

2013-14 Affiliates Members: WIDA