How many newly graduated teacher candidates can explain how they would use the WIDA ELP Standards to design effective classroom instruction and to monitor the academic language development of the English learners in their classrooms?
In a recent report, Teaching ELL Students: Professional Standards in Elementary Ed. in Central Region States (REL Central – 2012) , only 1 of 7 states surveyed included assessing students language development status and development in the professional standards for teachers. None of the 7 states included anything about selecting curricula and instructional materials with the needs of English learners in mind. Clearly, there are gaps in the professional standards in the field of education when it comes to teaching culturally and linguistically diverse students.
Even if these essential skills are included in professional teaching standards, our colleges and universities need to ensure that new teachers entering the field are prepared to design instruction and support the academic language development of their students who are learning English as well as the content of the lesson. Some teacher education programs are including the SIOP model in preparation of student teachers, and it is time to ensure that effective training on the WIDA ELP Standards and tools is an expected part of any quality teacher preparation program. The new draft ELD Standards (2012) that are being rolled out by the WIDA Consortium as a support to the 2007 standards contain valuable tools for planning differentiated units that support academic language development.
Currently, 30 states have chosen to adopt the WIDA ELP Standards, and 27 of these are official members of the WIDA Consortium and are using the ACCESS for ELLS. Since the development of the next generation of English language proficiency assessments is being led by the WIDA Consortium, along with WestEd and others, as the recipient consortium of a federal grant of over $10 million, it is likely that other states will be attracted to the WIDA Consortium as a result.The ASSETS project runs until 2015 and will result in a technology-based assessment of English language proficiency.
It is reasonable to expect that teacher education programs are cognizant of the trends in the field of culturally and linguistically diverse education, and are incorporating the WIDA standards into the teacher preparation curriculum, in those states that are already in the WIDA consortium as well as those who are in the process of considering such a move.
– Jen Daniels, ELL Education & Equity
For information on consultation services for higher education on the WIDA ELP Standards, click here.