Saturday, August 25, 2007

State Exams and English Language Learners

State Exam Results Show that English Learners are
English Learners

We should not be alarmed to read that “only” 27%
of English learners in LAUSD passed the state English
exam (“English learners do worse on test,” August
24).

English learners are supposed to do worse on tests
given in English. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be
classified as limited in English. In fact, if 27%
passed, and if the test is valid, that means that 27%
are probably misclassified as limited in English.

The results tell us only that most students who have
not yet acquired English have not yet acquired
English.

Stephen Krashen


Misinformed about bilingual education
Contrary to what Esther Cepeda’s statements (“English
as a first priority,” August 23, bilingual educators
agree that English is a first priority, and scientific
research agrees. Study after study has shown that
children in bilingual programs typically outperform
similar children in all-English classes on tests of
English reading. In fact, four major reviews coming to
this conclusion were published in the last two years
in professional journals.
Properly organized bilingual programs use the child’s
first language as a means of accelerating English
development, not to delay it.
Stephen Krashen

The four major reviews:
1. Slavin, R. and Cheung, A. 2005. A synthesis of
research of reading instruction for English language
learners, Review of Educational Research 75(2):
247-284.
2. Rolstad, K., Mahoney, K., & Glass, G. 2005. The big
picture: A meta-analysis of program effectiveness
research on English language learners. Educational
Policy 19(4): 572-594.
3. Genesse, F., Lindolm-Leary, K., Saunders, W., and
Christian, D. 2005. English Language Learners in U.S.
Schools: An Overview of Research. Journal of
Education for Students Placed at Risk, 10(4), 363–385.
4. Francis, D., Lesaux, N., & August, D. 2006.
Language of instruction, In D. August & T. Shanahan,
(Eds.) Developing literacy in second-language
learners, pp. 365-413. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
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