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ERIC Number: EJ797222
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-May-14
Pages: 2
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0277-4232
Consistent ELL Guides Proposed Yardsticks: "Interpretation" of NCLB Law Seeks Statewide Yardsticks
Zehr, Mary Ann
Education Week, v27 n37 p1, 19 May 2008
In a move that could prompt major changes in the way states measure the achievement of English-language learners, the U.S. Department of Education is planning to tell states they must each use a consistent yardstick in determining when a child is fluent in English and when that child no longer needs special ELL services. A proposed "interpretation" of the No Child Left Behind Act's Title III--the conduit for most federal funding for ELL programs--says that states must further standardize the criteria they use to report how well such students are learning English. That's likely to reduce the flexibility that states typically have given school districts in assessing the progress of their English-learners and to have a big impact on how school systems decide when those students are ready to leave ELL programs, experts in the field say. Federal officials are aware that the proposal may cut back on some of the leeway states have assumed in the past--and that's part of the point, according to Kathryn M. Doherty, a special assistant to the department's deputy secretary. Some state education officials and experts on English-learners were still puzzling over the implications of the proposal last week. Hector Rico, the director of the language-learner and -support division of the California Department of Education, said it might be tricky to come up with a statewide standard in California for criteria such as the judgment teachers now use in helping to decide when students leave ELL programs. And his initial reading of the proposal is that California--where a quarter of students are English-learners--would have to change its state laws to implement some aspects of the interpretation.
Editorial Projects in Education. 6935 Arlington Road Suite 100, Bethesda, MD 20814-5233. Tel: 800-346-1834; Tel: 301-280-3100; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California; Virginia
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001