English Language Learners Report  

February 18, 2014
“English Language Learners in America’s Great City Schools: Demographics, Achievement and Staffing,” a new report by the Council presents the results on English Language Learners (ELL) enrollment and programs in Great City School districts. The ELLs attending schools in the member districts of the Council of the Great City Schools account for nearly one-quarter of all ELLs in the nation.

The responses provide a picture of ELL enrollment across the 46 responding districts, including total numbers, percentages, enrollment by school level, languages spoken, and ELLs receiving special education services.

Professor Krashen’s brief comments on three of the reports finding succinctly summarize the misguided practice of using ELL status to gauge the success of districts, teachers, and ELL students as well as a general misunderstanding of the definition of an ELL as a student who because of limited English proficiency cannot be successful in mainstream classrooms without differentiated instruction and instruction designed to specifically teach both basic and academic English language skills.

1. “The results showed wide gaps in reading and mathematics between ELLs and non-ELLs.”
Comment: If the results did not show gaps between ELLs and non-ELLs, the ELLs would not be ELLs.

2. “ …. trend lines suggest that ELLs have not made meaningful progress academically between 2005 and 2011 …”.
Comment: We would not expect ELLs as a group to “improve”; when ELLs make sufficient progress, they are reclassified as non-ELL. The group average test score thus stays about the same.

3. “The percentage of ELLs scoring at or above proficient in grade 4 reading in large cities remained stag-nant from 2005 to 2011, with only about five to six percent scoring at or above proficient” (p. 73).
Comment: This means that five to six percent have been misclassified. A student who scores proficient or above should not be classified as ELL.Reported in: http://languagemagazine.com/?page_id=1297

-by Professor Stephen Krashen
-submitted by Rosemary Cervantes, English Language Coordinator