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Is It a Language or Literacy Issue?

by Andi Diaz on September 13, 2019

Meeting students where they are when they enter the classroom can present a unique challenge. With limited time, teachers may find it difficult to pinpoint what level English learners (ELs) are at and which skills they struggle with.

Education technology has advanced to the point where the assessment process can be automated and made adaptive to reduce the amount of time a student spends testing. Software can immediately analyze results and report them to educators. It’s not always straightforward, though.

In the case of ELs and biliteracy students, there’s more that’s needed beyond a simple conversion of the words on the English version of the test to help teachers understand their learners’ foundational skills and gaps. Other factors that are not necessarily indicative of literacy deficits can influence assessments.

“It may be that [students] test in the 77th percentile in Spanish and the fourth percentile in English,” suggests Julie Robinson, a professional development specialist at Istation. “If that’s the case, then they’ve understood their reading skills in Spanish, but they’re struggling in the English, so it’s a language issue and not necessarily a literacy issue.”

Or maybe students didn’t understand the content itself because the text covered something they’ve never experienced. Attention to the culture of the students and their frame of reference is an important aspect of any data-driven instructional and intervention model.

Istation’s English and Spanish literacy programs were designed with the learner in mind. Both programs are authentic to the language and culture of students learning to read, with the goal in mind to empower students in reading to learn.

Download and read our white paper “Driving Growth for English Learners,” a data-driven approach to intervention with ELs and biliteracy students that will help them succeed!

Get the whitepaper!

Topics: English Language Learners