Unit 2: How to Serve ELLs? The Basics

NAVIGATE TO: Arr.GIF About the Author | Arr.GIF ETAP 623 Fall 2017 Section 7619 | Arr.GIF Academic Language Building for ELLs in Content Classrooms

Unit 2 Objectives: By the end of unit 2, the participants will:

  • Understand and recall the different language proficiency levels of ELLs.
  • Understand how the ELL levels are determined.
  • Remember test accommodations for ELLs.
  • Recall steps in the bilingual instructional protocol (bilingual content teachers).

Section 1: Case Study

Yu 2017, case study image.png

Refer back to Unit 1 for the ELL student you have identified who struggles with academic English.
Take notes for the following when you work through unit 2:
1. What is the student's English proficiency level?
2. How is the student's proficiency level determined?
3. How would you describe the student's general English proficiency level?
4. How would you describe the students's performance level in listening, reading, speaking and writing?
5. What are the testing accommodations to which the the student is entitled?

Section 2: ELL Proficiency Levels

[ Investigate ]

  1. Read the description of each proficiency level. Identify keywords that set one level apart from the other levels.
  2. Compare and contrast the key indicators that distinguish one level from the other.
  3. Challenge: Do you think ELLs who score commanding still need language support?
(Find answer in "Go Beyond" section: A Guide for Parents of ELLs in NYS-- Common Myths)

ELL Levels from: A Guide for Parents of ELLs in NYS/ NYSDE [1]

[Go Beyond]
1. Engage NY: Performance level description of the 4 language skills: listening, reading, speaking and writing.
NYSESLAT Performance Level Descriptions [3] 2. A Guide for Parents of ELLs in NYS: ELLs identification, programs, common misconceptions, and resources
A Guide for Parents of ELLs in NYS

Section 3: ELL Proficiency Tests

[ Guided Questions ]
1. What are the different assessments designed specifically for ELLs to determine their English proficiency levels?
2. What is the purpose for each assessment?
3. How does the assessment results affect ELLs?

[ Newcomers ]
NYSITELL: New York State Identification Test of ELLs

  • Why: placement
  • When: upon reporting to school; (untimed)
  • Who: by an licensed ENL teacher
  • What: 4 skills/ modalities (listening, speaking, reading & writing)
  • Use of bilingual dictionary: NO
  • How: Speaking = individual; 3 separate booklets (one for each modality: listening, reading & writing)
  • Special Note: "Effective February 1, 2018, a newly designed NYSITELL will take the place of the current 2014 edition of the NYSITELL, the statewide identification assessment of English Language Learners. The 2018 edition of the NYSITELL will be aligned to the current New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test (NYSESLAT), but abbreviated in length."

[ Current ELLs ]
NYSESLAT: New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test

  • Why: advancement of ELL Level (summative); entitlement of ELL services
  • When: around April yearly; (untimed)
  • Who: by licensed ENL teachers
  • What: 4 skills/ modalities (listening, speaking, reading & writing)
  • Use of bilingual dictionary: NO
  • How: Speaking = individual; 3 sessions (booklets) of integrated language modalities (listening, reading & writing)
  • Features:
-Integrated language skills/ modalities utilizing Global Themes
-Grade level Text Complexity
-Instructionally relevant academic Language
-Mirror interdepedent language use in authentic classroom instruction

[Go Beyond] 
1. NYSESLAT Webinettes: introduction to the NYSESLAT NYSESLAT Webinettes[4]
2. NYSESLAT: Sample NYSESLAT Questions with Annotations: NYSESLAT Sample Items with Annotations[5]
3. NYSITELL: Sample Test Questions & Administration Guidelines: NYSITELL Sample & Guidelines[6]

Section 4: Testing Accommodations

[ Guided Questions ]

1. What are the mandated testing accommodations for ELLs in terms of time and location?
2. What are the mandates regarding translated editions, bilingual dictionaries and glossaries?
3. What if there is no translated edition for an exam?
4. How is the testing accommodations for ELA different from those of other exams?

Testing Accommodations for ELLs on NYS ELA and Content-area Assessments:
[ Quick Overview ]

  • Extended time
  • Flexible setting: 1:1 or small group; separate location;
  • Bilingual glossary
  • Bilingual dictionary
  • Test form: English with alternate langue forms (except ELA)
  • Oral translation: only available for NYS tests that do not have alternate language forms
  • Test response: English or alternate language forms (except ELA)
  • Flexible response format: writing responses in the native language, if using alternate language test forms or receiving oral translations (except ELA)

[ Testing Accommodations Explained ]

The following information is excerpted from the NYSED Webpage: ELL Assessment Testing Accommodations [2]

  • Time Extension (all exams)
Schools may extend the test time for ELL students on NYS ELA and content-area Assessments and on Regents Examinations. Principals may use any reasonable extensions, such as "time and a half" (the required testing time plus half that amount), in accordance with their best judgment about the needs of the ELL students. Principals should consult with the student's classroom teacher in making these determinations.
  • Separate Location (all exams)
Schools are encouraged to provide optimal testing environments and facilities for ELLs. NYS assessments may be administered to ELLs individually or in small groups in a separate location.
  • Bilingual Dictionaries and/or Glossaries
ELLs may use bilingual glossaries when taking State examinations in all subjects except foreign languages and high school ELA. The bilingual dictionaries and glossaries may provide only direct one to one translations of words. Bilingual dictionaries and/or glossaries that provide definitions or explanations are not permitted. Bilingual glossaries in the content areas are available for downloading.
  • Simultaneous use of English and Alternative Language Editions are not allowed for English Language Arts Examinations.
For state examinations for which the Department provides written translations, ELLs may use both English and an alternative language edition of the test simultaneously. However, they should be instructed to record all of their responses in only one language. The alternative language edition used by the student should be so indicated on the student's answer sheet. Note: There are no translations of English Language Arts examinations.
  • Oral Translation for Low Incidence Languages are not allowed for English Language Arts Examinations.
Schools may provide ELL students with an oral translation of a state examination when there is no translated edition provided by the Department. All translations must be oral, direct translations of the English editions. Written translations are not allowed. No clarifications or explanations may be provided. Translators should receive copies of the English edition of the tests one hour prior to administration. The Office of Bilingual Education and World Languages and the Regional Bilingual Education Resource Networks can assist schools in locating suitable translators.
  • Writing Responses in the Home/Primary Language are not allowed for English Language Arts Examinations.
ELL students making use of alternative language editions or of oral translations of state examinations other than the ELA may write their responses to the open ended question in their home/primary language. Scoring the tests is the responsibility of the school. However, the Department's Office of Bilingual Education and World Languages and the RBERNs can assist schools in locating persons who can translate the students' responses into English to facilitate scoring of the answer papers.
  • Former English Language Learners
1. ELLs who score commanding on the NYSESLAT
2. ELLs who score 65 or above on the Common Core ELA Regents Exam
Schools may provide the testing accommodations listed above to former ELLs for 2 years after they existed from ELL status.

Section 5: Bilingual Instructional Protocol

Bilingual Content Area Classes--Protocols and Best Practices

[Classroom Learning Environment]

1. Bilingual Dictionaries & Glossaries: All ELLs (former & current) must have access to bilingual dictionaries and glossaries.
2. Visual Learning Aides: Supportive charts, visual aids, reference charts, word walls should be seen in all classrooms.

Home Language Materials: displayed on the Left Side of the classroom in Black/Blue Ink.
English Materials: displayed on the Right Side of the classroom in Red Ink.

[Bilingual Instructional Considerations]
suggested by Division of ELLs Sutdent Support of NYCDOE

1. Mini-lessons should be taught in Home Language
2. Summary of lesson should be taught in English
3. Small group/ individual work is differentiated by language proficiency levels

Section 6: Unit Reflection

[Answer Questions]
1. What are the different ELL proficiency levels?
2. How are the levels determined? For newcomers? For current ELLs?
3. What are the mandated testing accommodations?
4. Bilingual Content Teachers:

  • What are the best practices regarding visual learning aides and classroom environment?
  • How should bilingual content teachers conduct the mini-lesson and summary in terms of language use?
  • How do the different ELL proficiency levels affect instruction?

[Case Study]
Let me summarize what I have found about my "Carlos."

Yu 2017, case study image.png
  • Name: _____________________
  • Program: ESL or Bilingual (circle)
  • Assessment Taken: ___________________
  • English Proficiency Level: ____________________
  • Brief Description of 4 English skills:
Listening: _____________________________
Speaking: ______________________________
Reading: _______________________________
Writing: _______________________________

[Questions or Thoughts?]
Discuss: Please click "Discussion" on the top left hand corner to enter your questions or thoughts.

Getting Around

Back to Main Page: Academic Language Building for ELLs in Content Classrooms

Unit 1: Why Teach Academic Language in Content Classrooms?

Unit 2: How to Serve ELLs? The Basics

Unit 3: Academic Language

Unit 4: Language Objectives

Mini-course Summary

Connect with Others

Additional ELL Resources


Unit 1: Why Teach Academic Language in Content Classrooms- References
Unit 2: How to Serve ELL? The Basics- References
Unit 3: Academic Language- References
Unit 4: Language Objective- References