ELL vs. Arizona Proficiency Standards

ELL vs. Arizona Proficiency Standards
English language learners (ELLs) face demanding requirements both
academic and cognitive in content areas and school grade levels. In
order to participate fully in school, they must acquire English
proficiency and at the same time perform well in other academic content
areas. This proficiency is necessary for social-cultural interactions,
and also to assist in understanding content areas such as mathematics,
arts and sciences. Standards are important for defining the content
within the language which an ELL is expected to have. These standards
are enforced because the ELLs need them in order to achieve academically
in US schools.
Arizona ELL
Domain Grade Domain Grade
Listening Grade K-1 Listening Grade PreK-K
Speaking Grade 2-3 Speaking Grade 1-3
Reading Grade 4-5 Reading Grade 4-5
Writing Grade 6-8 Writing Grade 6-8
Grade 9-10
Grade 9-12
Grade 11-CCR
The chart depicts the first difference between the two proficiency
standard in grade levels. Arizona Language Arts Proficiency Standards
has six grade levels. ELL has five grade levels only. Despite the
difference in stages, the coverage in those stages bears a lot of
similarities between the two language professional standards. The key
similarity is the language domains and the sequence of their usage.
Listening appears in the first grades in both systems. At this stage,
the learner is unfamiliar or has little knowledge of the language.
Learners will rarely use English for communication at this stage. This
‘silent’ stage should be respected and encouraged by providing
opportunities for active listening. Response to commands, questions and
statements are mainly non-verbal. They still cannot make sense out of
texts, graphs or maps written in English.
The learner advances to speaking. Learners begin to imitate
verbalizations and try to pronounce single words. With time, they begin
to understand short phrases and sentences. In Arizona Language Arts
Proficiency Standards, speaking is given emphasis from the first stage
meaning it is enjoined with listening. In ELL, the learner is not rushed
though attempts to pronounce simple words are encouraged. To enhance
this domain, tutors use strategies like group discussions, choral verses
and thinking aloud.
Reading is the third domain. It does not always come after speaking.
There are learners who learn how to read easily than grasping
pronunciations. Strategies to improve reading include keeping journals
and writing lists of vocabularies. This stage requires one to have
sharpened their speaking because to read correctly, the learner must be
knowledgeable of the pronunciations. At this level, rhymes, poetry and
other aids are used to increase phonemic awareness. Materials such as
guided reading organizers, maps and Venn diagrams improve the
learner’s active reading.
The last domain is writing. Writing begins with simple expressions like
drawing to communicate what one is feeling without words. Gradually,
learners graduate from learning their names to writing short sentences.
Writing depends on how well the first three domains are integrated in
the mind of the learner in the preceding grade levels. Writing is
expected to be the expansion stage where the learner can use English to
communicate on a day to day basis. The only challenges expected here
could be comprehension problem for new words. With practice, the learner
is expected to reduce errors significantly.
In Arizona Language Arts Proficiency Standards, English-learning
students have an additional curriculum to assist them learn these
domains besides the normal content areas. Given attention in adherence
to the ELL proficiency standards, pre-illiterate learners will
demonstrate characteristics similar to those of English-speaking
students. Both standards are supportive to English learners who wish to
pursue their studies in the United States.
Works cited
Haver, Johanna J. English for the Children: Mandated by the People,
Skewed by Politicians and Special Interests. Lanham: Rowman &
Littlefield Education, 2013. Internet resource.

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