Double the Work: Challenges and Solutions to Acquiring Language and Academic Literacy for Adolescent English Language Learners

The Center for Applied Linguistics, working on behalf of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, convened a panel of researchers, policymakers, and practitioners to share their expertise on the issues and challenges confronting adolescent English language learners (ELLs). Research conducted as part of the project included a review by CAL of the literature on adolescent ELL literacy and site visits to three promising programs. Because adolescent English language learners are learning English at the same time they are studying core content areas in English, they must actually perform double the work of native English speakers in U.S. secondary schools. The panel outlined six major challenges to improving the literacy of English language learners and recommended an array of strategies for day-to-day teaching practices to surmount these challenges. The report follows each challenge section with an extensive discussion of potential solutions and provides important information to help policymakers develop strategies that will help these students reach their full potential. 

The Adolescent ELL Literacy Report, entitled Double the Work: Challenges and Solutions to Acquiring Language and Academic Literacy for Adolescent English Language Learners, was published by the Alliance for Excellent Education and released at a conference hosted by the Alliance on November 2, 2006.

For more information or to obtain a copy of the report, visit the Alliance website.

Measures of Change: The Demography and Literacy of Adolescent English Learners

The companion to Double the Work provides a demographic profile of students in grades 6-12 who are English Language Learners (ELLs) and focuses on how these students are faring on standardized tests at the national level and in four states: California, Colorado, Illinois, and North Carolina. The authors find wide achievement gaps between ELL and other students at both national and state levels — a finding with worrying implications for schools trying to meet requirements under the No Child Left Behind Act.

About the Project

Funder: Carnegie Corporation of New York
April 2005 – August 2006