Formative Language Assessment for English Learners: A Four-Step Process (Paperback)

Formative Language Assessment for English Learners: A Four-Step Process By Timothy Boals, Mariana Castro, H. Gary Cook Cover Image
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The significant challenges faced by English Language Learners (ELLs) become greater during the middle and high school years, when they must learn more abstract academic concepts with emergent English language skills and differing levels of background knowledge. To meet these challenges, ELLs need immediate feedback about how the development of their language abilities interacts with their academic performance; and teachers need practical strategies to help ELLs develop the specific content and language abilities necessary for success. In Formative Language Assessment for English Learners, the research team of Rita MacDonald, Timothy Boals, Mariana Castro, H. Gary Cook, Todd Lundberg, and Paula A. White demonstrates what good language assessment for formative purposes is, explains the cycle of formative language assessment, and shows how it unfolds stage by stage in a school setting. Based on a five-year collaborative project with middle and high school teachers in three major school districts, the book presents a process for:

  • Weaving a language focus into content lessons
  • Analyzing students' language from writing samples to help them broaden their linguistic choices
  • Creating active partnerships with students as they learn and practice new ways to use English.

When classrooms are defined by effective language assessment for formative purposes, they become dynamic spaces in which teachers can use that information to plan clear, attainable steps to increase student learning, and students develop deeper understandings of both academic content and academic language. Formative Language Assessment for English Learners provides practical strategies to implement a unique process for formative assessment that can truly change classroom practice.

This team of authors works together at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and have collaborated on formative language assessment for English Language Learners through their work for WIDA (World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment), a 36-state consortium that supports academic language development for linguistically diverse students through standards, assessment, research, and professional development.

About the Author

WIDA (World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment) researcher Rita MacDonald works in the field of content-language integration, using the theory and pedagogy of systemic functional linguistics to build awareness of discipline-specific language and instructional capacity for K-12 teachers. As Executive Director of WIDA (World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment), Dr. Timothy Boals' research interests involve the interplay between content and language learning for ELLs across the language acquisition continuum and the effects of standards on classroom practice for these learners. As Director of Academic Language and Literacy Initiatives at WIDA (World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment), Mariana Castro directs research and development related to the language development of PreK and school-aged children to create standards and standards-based resources for them, their families and their educators. Dr. H. Gary Cook directs research for WIDA (World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment) and focuses on alignment of standards and assessments, policy issues associated with Title III accountability and was the principal investigator for the Formative Language Assessment Records for English Language Learners (FLARE) project. Dr. Todd Lundberg is Dean for Student Learning at Cascadia College in Washington State. Dr. Paula A. White is a researcher and project manager at WCER (Wisconsin Center for Education Research) in educational policy who served as project manager on the FLARE project, the five year project foundational to this work on formative language assessment.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780325053578
ISBN-10: 032505357X
Publisher: Heinemann Educational Books
Publication Date: March 27th, 2015
Pages: 112
Language: English