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ERIC Number: ED511353
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010-May
Pages: 28
Abstractor: ERIC
Common Assumptions vs. the Evidence: English Language Learners in the United States--A Reference Guide
Gil, Libia; Bardack, Sarah
American Institutes for Research
There is an extensive history of educating English language learners (ELLs) and new arrivals to this country with inconsistent and controversial approaches. The question of how best to teach language and content for ELLs and new immigrants remains largely unresolved in our school practices and state policies. There are contrasting perspectives on and approaches to addressing the needs of ELLs in school communities; these perspectives are often primarily reflections of personal or anecdotal experiences, with only limited research being used to inform practices. Despite some research evidence to support differentiated approaches for ELLs, the lack of clarity on research-based instructional methodology, coupled with many preconceived notions, contributes to confusion about appropriate policies, goals, strategies, and outcomes for English language learners. ELLs continue to have disproportionately high drop-out rates, low graduation rates, and low college completion rates. The primary purpose of this guide is to discuss some common beliefs and compare them with the relevant research literature to address the assumptions that often underlie ELL instruction. In addition, other objectives are to: (1) Identify some of the most prevalent assumptions on ELLs; (2) Highlight relevant research studies that address ELL topics; (3) Generate knowledge access and application to improve practice; and (4) Inform the development of appropriate policies to elevate the performance of ELLs. Individual sections contain sources. (Contains 11 footnotes.)
American Institutes for Research. 1000 Thomas Jefferson Street NW, Washington, DC 20007. Tel: 202-403-5000; Fax: 202-403-5001; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Guides - Non-Classroom; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: American Institutes for Research
Identifiers - Location: United States
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A