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ERIC Number: EJ1216987
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019-May
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1540-8000
Policies That Support Improving the Literacy Levels of English Learners
Shanahan, Timothy; Echevarria, Jana
State Education Standard, v19 n2 p33-40 May 2019
Literacy is increasingly essential for Americans' health, economic well-being, civic engagement, access to higher education, and social participation. Rapid growth in technology and globalization have increased demand for both universal literacy and higher levels of literacy than in the recent past. Yet national and international assessments indicate that America's children are not meeting these demands. According to the Programme for International Student Achievement, children in the United States significantly underperform those in Canada, Germany, Japan, and 11 other countries. And according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), U.S. reading levels have languished for 12 years--with no improvements at any grade level. The story is even worse for the nearly five million English learners (ELs) in U.S. schools who are learning rigorous content while learning English, the language of instruction. At fourth grade, 72 percent of native English speakers reached at least the basic level on the NAEP assessment, but only 31 percent of the ELs did, and results are similar in grade 8. These disappointing achievement patterns have persisted since 2000. These data also vary quite a bit by state, which underscores the possibilities for offering better supports for these students. If schools are to be successful, they must ensure that ELs attain high levels of literacy. To accomplish this, state boards of education must adopt policies and practices based upon the best evidence. This article describes the seven actions that boards should consider if they hope to raise literacy achievement among English learners.
National Association of State Boards of Education. 2121 Crystal Drive Suite 350, Arlington, VA 22202. Tel: 800-368-5023; Tel: 703-684-4000; Fax: 703-836-2313; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 4; Intermediate Grades
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: National Assessment of Educational Progress
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A