Promoting the Educational Success of English Learners: Policy Implications and Reactions from the Field


Please consult the event program for date, time and location.

Presented at: AERA 2018

In March 2017, The National Academy of Sciences issued a report: Promoting the Educational Success of Children and Youth Learning English.  NAS reports document the evidence-based consensus of an authoring committee of experts. Reports typically include findings, conclusions, and recommendations based on information gathered by the committee and committee deliberations and are peer reviewed. This report reviews research on effective educational practices for DLLs/ELs, and recommends policies and practices that can influence the educational trajectories of children and youth.

This session, brings together scholars who worked on five sections of the NAS report: 1) ELL policy context, 2) Promising Practices for the Early Learning of ELs/ Dual Language Learners, 3) Promising K-12 Programs for ELLs, 4) Promising Practices in the Assessment of ELLs and 5) Building the Workforce to Educate ELs. The objective of this session is to highlight each of the sections, provide an overview of the chapter in the NAS report and discuss the implications of the conclusions for policy and implementation in the field.

Two discussants, experts on DLL/EL program implementation in the field, will respond to the presentations and share observations on implications for implementation.

Chair: Dr. Joel Gomez, President, Center for Applied Linguistics

The EL Policy Context: Dr. Eugene Garcia, Professor Emeritus examines the evolution of federal policies that have shaped practice in the education of ELs over the past 50 years and focuses on current federal and state policies related to K-12 education for ELs reflected in The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015.

Promising Practices for Dual Language Learners: Dr. Marlene Zepeda, Professor Emerita reviews relevant research on guiding principles, programs, practices, and strategies that promote positive developmental and educational outcomes for DLLs in home visiting programs and Early Childhood Education (ECE) settings. It concludes by identifying those best practices that have emerged from the research.

Promising K-12 DLL/EL Programs: Dr. Kathryn Lindholm-Leary, Professor Emerita reviews the research and evaluation literature focused on effective programs for DLL/ELs and highlights implications for implementation. This session begins with a discussion of the importance of articulation between programs and practices for DLLs/ELs.  A review follows of the English-only and bilingual programs that serve DLLs/ELs in pre-K through 12th grade and their evaluations. The presentation concludes with implications for program implementation.

Promising Practices in the Assessment of ELs: Dr. Jeff MacSwan, Professor University of Maryland summarizes the research on assessment measures and practices for DLLs and for ELs (K-12). The discussion includes an analysis of challenges in assessment design and ESSA requirements. The presentation concludes with comments on promising and effective assessment practices for DLLs/ELs.

Promising Practices to Build the Workforce to Educate ELs: Dr. M. Beatriz Arias, Senior Social Scientist, CAL addresses issues related to producing a well-prepared workforce to care for and educate children who are DLLs and ELs. This presentation reviews federal policies, state certification requirements, competencies, and preparation of educators for DLL/ELs.  Implications to address the critical need for adequately prepared educators of DLLs/ELs are discussed.

Reactions from the field:

  • Dr. José Medina, Director of Dual Language Education at CAL
  • Dr. Gabriela Uro, Director of EL programs for the Council for Great City Schools