Second language acquisition is a multifaceted process that requires skillful and intentional facilitation. Along with the challenge of developing fluency in a new language, English Learners (ELs) must master grade-level content in all academic subjects. In order to meet the diverse needs of our EL students, we are adopting the Content, Connections, Comprehensibility, and Interactions model (3Cs & I) and with Universal Design for Learning (UDL) as the foundation for the English Language Development (ELD) Framework to support sustained instruction.
3 C's & I
Teachers and students partner to explore learning through relevant connections to content, based upon focused language and literacy skills. Attention to the cultural and native language capital of the students supports the multiple perspectives of chosen topics and context for learning. Activities for comprehensible input include personally meaningful tasks and work products that reflect mastery of the explicit discourse required to meet the performance expectations of WIDA academic and sociocultural content standards. Teachers collaborate with students to create inclusive, safe, and nurturing environments that support the risk taking needed to generate point of view, voice, and expression. The monitoring of student responses to interactive learning employs concrete data to evaluate, define, and implement supportive multi-tiered levels of instruction.
According to National Center on Universal Design for Learning, at CAST, UDL is a set of principles for curriculum development that give all individuals equal opportunities to learn. UDL provides a blueprint for creating instructional goals, methods, materials, and assessments that work for everyone-not a single, one-size-fits-all solution but rather flexible approaches that can be customized and adjusted for individual needs.
WIDA in the BPS
The WIDA (Worldclass Instructional Design and Assessment) Consortium has been built by educators who work with English language learners (ELLs) in their classrooms, schools, districts, and states. WIDA advances academic language development and academic achievement for linguistically diverse students through high quality standards, assessments, research, and professional development for educators.Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has been a WIDA consortium member state since 2012. DESE has adopted WIDA’s English language development standards and assessments for English Language Learners. The annual assessment for English Language Learners is ACCESS 2.0 (Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State to State). This assessment replaces the previous Massachussetts English Proficiency and Assessment (MEPA/MELAO).
- These standards incorporate a set of model performance indicators (PIs) that describe the expectations educators have of ELL students at four different grade level clusters and in five different content areas.
- The grade level clusters include PreK to K, 1 to 2, 3 to 5, 6 to 8, and 9 to 12. There are five content areas of the standards. The first is called social and instructional language (SI), which incorporates proficiencies needed to deal with the general language of the classroom and the school. The others are English language arts (LA), math (MA), science (SC), and social studies (SS).
- For each grade level, then, the standards specify one or more performance indicators for each content area within each of the four language domains: Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing.
- The WIDA framework recognizes the continuum of language development within the four domains with six English language proficiency levels.