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ERIC Number: EJ891927
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jul
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 16
ISSN: ISSN-0013-8274
Success with ELLs: ELLs at the Center--Rethinking High-Stakes Testing
Ortiz-Marrero, Floris Wilma; Sumaryono, Karen
English Journal, v99 n6 p93-96 Jul 2010
Learning a language can be a long and arduous journey, and there is a lot of pressure on teachers to get students ready for standardized tests quickly. Because of the high-stakes consequences attached to standardized tests in combination with consistently lower test scores among English language learners (ELLs), the tests greatly impact the instruction and educational experiences of ELLs. Traditional methods and teaching to the test are notoriously ineffective with language learners. Test-driven education reduces "the quality of education the ELLs receive." To alleviate the pressures of the high-stakes testing environment, the authors suggest that teachers should consider the use of low-stakes writing such as freewriting and writing-to-learn activities. The authors refer to the kind of activities that provide students with opportunities to communicate and express ideas free of judgment and corrections. Students should have a choice of which language or dialect they use to complete such activities. It is important to keep in mind that the ultimate goal is for students to become strong readers and writers as well as critical thinkers and decision-makers. That is, if students are given the opportunity to use the language closest to their hearts, the one that connects to who they are and their gifts to the world, they may be willing to take risks and engage in writing processes to accomplish a desired outcome--whether it is an essay, poem, or presentation. An additional way to lighten the high-stakes testing environment is for teachers to assume a leadership role in the field of education. There are multiple and influential ways in which teachers can broaden their understanding of teaching ELLs. Adopting a variety of collaborative and engaging practices to advocate for students, parents, and the teaching field in general will enhance a teacher's vantage point in assuming leadership roles.
National Council of Teachers of English. 1111 West Kenyon Road, Urbana, IL 61801-1096. Tel: 877-369-6283; Tel: 217-328-3870; 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: Massachusetts