• ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines:  ACTFLProficiencyGuidelines201The “ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines” were first published in 1986 as an adaptation for the academic community of the U.S. Government’s Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR) Skill Level Descriptions. New for the 2012 edition are the addition of the major level of “distinguished” to the speaking and writing guidelines; the division of the “advanced” level into the three sublevels of “high,” “mid” and “low” for the listening and reading guidelines; and the addition of a general level description at the “advanced,” “intermediate” and “novice” levels for all skills.

    ACTFL Guidelines

    City Schools and ELL's:  New York City education officials on Wednesday released a plan to improve ELL education across the city by hiring more bilingual teachers and creating 125 new bilingual programs over the next three years. This announcement came as state education commissioner John B. King Jr. criticized the city’s programs and services for English-language learners, warning that sanctions could be applied if standards are not improved. In 2010, just 7% of ELL students graduated on time and were deemed ready for college and the workforce.

    Experts are learning more about how babies grow up bilingual:  Parents and linguists now widely embrace the benefits of children hearing more than one language from the time they are born, abandoning old fears of children suffering “language confusion” and delayed speech. However, researchers have only begun to understand the way infants sort out different languages. 

    ELL Students and Common Core Standards:  David N. Plank, executive director of Policy Analysis for California Education, writes that standardized tests do not do a good job of capturing the true knowledge level of English language learners. The tests are designed to be taken by native speakers and he writes that ELL students may know the answer but struggle with understanding the language. As new tests are developed that align with the Common Core State Standards, these factors should be considered.