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ELL Glossary

Academic Content Standards
Statements that define the knowledge and skills students need to know and be able to demonstrate as proof of competency in the core content areas associated with schooling.
Academic Language Proficiency
The use of language in acquiring academic content in formal schooling contexts, including specialized or technical language and discourse related to each content area.
ACCESS for ELLs™
This is a standards-based, criterion referenced English language proficiency test designed to measure English language learners’ social and academic proficiency in English. It assesses social and instructional English as well as the language associated with language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies within the school context across the four language domains. Only teachers and other certified school district staff members that are certified can administer the test.
Additive Bilingual
Occurs in an environment in which the addition of a second language and culture does not replace the first language and culture; rather, the first language/culture are promoted and developed (Lambert, 1982).
AMAO
Annual Measurable achievement objectives are designed to hold State educational agencies, local educational agencies, and schools accountable for increases in English proficiency and core academic content knowledge of limited English proficient children by requiring —
    (A) demonstrated improvements in the English proficiency of limited English proficient children each fiscal year; and (B) adequate yearly progress for limited English proficient children, including immigrant children and youth, as described in section 1111(b)(2)(B)
Analytic Rubrics
Scoring guides that consist of designated levels with specified components consisting of defined criteria, such as the ACCESS for ELLs® Speaking and Writing Rubrics.
Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives (AMAO)
Title III of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) requires that limited English proficient (LEP) students be assessed annually to measure both their progress toward English language proficiency and their attainment of English language proficiency.
There are three categories of achievement objectives for limited English proficient (LEP) students:
    (1) progress toward acquiring English language proficiency, (2) attainment of English language proficiency, and (3) adequate yearly progress (AYP) of the LEP subgroup in both English Language Arts and in mathematics.
BICS (Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills)
The language ability required for face-to-face communication where linguistic interactions are embedded in a situational context. For example, children acquire BICS from their classmates, the media, and day-to-day experiences. Research has shown that it takes between one and three years to attain this basic level of oral proficiency (Cummins, 1984).
Bilingualism
Defining bilingualism is problematic since individuals with varying bilingual characteristics may be classified as bilingual. One approach is to recognize various categories of bilingualism such as: 1) bilingual ability—individuals who are fluent in two languages but rarely use both, and 2) bilingual usage—individuals who may be less fluent but who use both languages regularly. In addition, determination of bilingual proficiency should include consideration of the four language dimensions —listening, speaking, reading, and writing (Baker, 1993).
CALP (Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency)
A mastery of academic language believed to be necessary for students to succeed in context-reduced and cognitively-demanding areas such as reading, writing, math, science, and social studies. Examples of context-reduced environments include classroom lectures and textbook reading assignments (Cummins, 1984). Research has shown that it takes between five and ten years to gain the academic English required for a second-language student to perform at grade level (Collier, Thomas, 1997).
CAN DO Descriptors
General performance indicators that describe typical behaviors of ELLs in each language domain at each level of English language proficiency.
Comprehensible Input
Ensuring that a concept is understood by a second language learner through adapting the level of difficulty of the language to the student’s level of proficiency.
Content-Based English as a Second Language
This approach makes use of instructional materials, learning tasks, and classroom techniques from academic content areas as the vehicle for developing language, content, cognitive and study skills. English is used as the medium of instruction (Crandall, 1992).
DELL
Division of English Language Learning of the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) The Division provides leadership, advocacy and support to districts, policymakers and citizens by promoting equitable access to language support services for students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds that have been identified as English Language Learners. These services will assist them to become lifelong learners, able to contribute to and function in a multicultural and globally competitive world.
Developmental Bilingual Education (DBE)
Programs that implement native language instruction for students after they are proficient in English.
Discourse
Extended, connected language that may include explanations, descriptions and propositions.
Dominant Language
The language with which the speaker has greater proficiency and/or uses more often (Baker, 1993).
Dual Language (Immersion) Program
Also known as two-way or developmental, these bilingual programs allow students to develop language proficiency in two languages by receiving instruction in English and another language in a classroom that is usually comprised of half native English speakers and half native speakers of the other language (Christian, D., 1994).
ELL (English Language Learners)
ELLs are students whose first language is not English and who are in the process of learning English. Unlike other terminology, such as limited English proficient, ELL highlights what these students are accomplishing rather than focusing on their temporary deficits (Lacelle-Peterson, M.W. and Rivera, C., 1994).
English Dominant
A student whose language of communication is predominantly English.
English Language Learners(ELL)
ELLs are students whose first language is not English and who are in the process of learning English. Unlike other terminology, such as limited English proficient, ELL highlights what these students are accomplishing rather than focusing on their temporary deficits (Lacelle-Peterson, M.W. and Rivera, C., 1994).
Linguistically and culturally they are diverse students who have been identified (by the W-APT™ screener and other measures) as having levels of English language proficiency that preclude them from accessing, processing and acquiring unmodified grade level content in English.
English Language Learners-2
Linguistically and culturally diverse students who have been identified (by the W-APT™ screener and other measures) as having levels of English language proficiency that preclude them from accessing, processing and acquiring unmodified grade level content in English.
English Language Proficiency Standards
Criteria that express the language expectations of ELLs at the end of their English language acquisition journey across the language domains.
English Only
An umbrella term that is used to refer to different federal and state legislative initiatives and various national, state, and local organizations, all of which involve the effort to make English the official language of the U.S. The initiatives and organizations vary in the degree to which they promote the suppression of non-English languages (Lewelling, 1992).
English Plus
A movement based on the belief that all U.S. residents should have the opportunity to become proficient in English plus one or more other languages (Lewelling, 1992).
ESL (English as a Second Language)
Is an educational approach in which limited English proficient students are instructed in the use of the English language. Their instruction is based on a special curriculum that typically involves little or no use of the native language and is taught during specific school periods. For the rest of the school day, students may be placed in mainstream classrooms (U.S. General Accounting Office, 1994). ESOL—English for speakers of other languages.
Formative Framework
Strands of model performance indicators descriptive of ELLs’ language development that help inform ongoing instruction and classroom assessment; that is, the process of learning.
General Vocabulary
Words or phrases not generally associated with a specific content area (e.g., describe, book).
Genre
Category used to classify discourse and literary works, usually by form, technique or content; an element of the strands of model performance indicators for Standard 2- the language of Language Arts.
Heritage Language Learner
A person studying a language who has proficiency in or a cultural connection to that language.
HLS
Home Language Survey – Each school district shall administer a home language survey with respect to each student entering the district’s schools for the first time, for the purpose of identifying students of non-English background. The survey shall include at least the following questions, and the student shall be identified as having a non- English background if the answer to either question is yes: 1) Whether a language other than English is spoken in the student’s home and, if so, which language; and 2) Whether the student speaks a language other than English and, if so, which language.
Holistic Rubrics
Scoring guides or documentation forms that have a set of general criteria for designated levels, such as the Performance Definitions.
Home Language
The first language learned by a child, usually the language of his or her home. Legally: The Home Language is reported on the Home Language Survey when a student enrolls in the district for the first time. Two questions required by law are: Does the student speak a language other than English? Does anyone in the home speak a language other than English? If the parent or guardian answers “yes” to either question a student must be assessed for English Language Proficiency within 30 days.
Immersion
Programs in which ESL students are taught a second language through content area instruction. These programs generally emphasize contextual clues and adjust grammar and vocabulary to the student’s proficiency level. NOT submersion.
Immigrant Education Program (IEP)
Federal funds available through Title III to district experience a significant increase in immigrant students over the year before.
Integration
ELL students participate fully with their English-speaking classmates in subjects, in which language is not essential to understanding of the subject matter, including art, music, physical education and others.
Interactive Supports
A type of scaffold to help students communicate and facilitate their access to content, such as by working in pairs or groups to confirm prior knowledge, using their native language to clarify, or incorporating technology into classroom activities.
IRC
Since 1972, the Illinois Resource Center has provided assistance to teachers and administrators serving linguistically and culturally diverse students. With support from the Illinois State Board of Education, the IRC has emerged as a major statewide intermediate service agency, and its educational and professional development programs have helped thousands of educators throughout Illinois and the nation to develop effective learning environments for English language learners.
L1
The first language learned by a child, also called the “native” or “home” language.
L2
Refers to a person’s second language, not the language learned from birth.
Language Control
The comprehensibility of the communication based on the amount and types of errors.
Language Domains
The four main subdivisions of language: listening, speaking, reading and writing.
Language Functions
The first of the three elements in model performance indicators that indicates how ELLs are to process or use language to demonstrate their English language proficiency.
Language Maintenance
The protection and promotion of the first or native language in an individual or within a speech community (Lambert, 1982).
Language Minority
In the U.S., individuals living in households in which a language other than English is spoken. This designation remains – even after a student becomes proficient in English.
LEP (Limited English Proficient)
Is the term used by the federal government, many states, and local school districts to identify those students who have insufficient English to succeed in English-only classrooms (Lessow-Hurley, 1991). It is now being replaced by ELL (English Language Learner).
Levels of English Language Proficiency
The arbitrary division of the second language acquisition continuum into stages of language development; the WIDA ELP Standards have 6 levels of language proficiency: 1- Entering, 2- Beginning, 3- Developing, 4- Expanding, 5- Bridging and 6- Reaching.
Linguistic Complexity
The amount and quality of speech or writing for a given situation.
LIPLEPS
Language Instruction Programs for Limited English Proficient Students – Federal funds available through Title III.
Listening
The ability to process, understand, interpret and evaluate spoken language in a variety of situations.
Migrant
A child whose parents have crossed school district boundaries within the last three years for reasons of employment in agriculture or agri-related businesses (e.g., poultry processing).
Model Performance Indicator (MPI)
A single cell within the English language proficiency standards’ matrices that is descriptive of a specific level of English language proficiency for a language domain.
Native Language
Refers to the first language learned in the home (home language), which often continues to be the stronger language in terms of competence and function (Baker, 1993).
Notice of Program Enrollment
All parents or legal guardians of students are notified of their child’s placement in a TBE/TPI/Title III program no later than 30 days after the beginning of the school year or 14 days after the enrollment of any child in a program during the middle of the school year. Notice is in English and in the student’s home language.
PAC
Parent Advisory Committee (21 IL Adm. Code 228.30) TBE ONLY
    • The bilingual parent advisory committee meets 4 times per year.
    • The committee consists of parents, legal guardians, TBE teachers, counselors and community leaders.
    • A majority of the members are parents with children in the program. • The district provides annual training to PAC members in the areas of instructional approaches and methods in bilingual education, State and federal laws in relation to students’ participation and parents’ rights, and accountability measures relevant to bilingual education.
Performance Definitions
Criteria that shape each of the six levels of English language proficiency; namely, linguistic complexity, vocabulary usage and language control.
Placement
Students in TBE/TPI programs are placed in classes with students of approximately the same age or grade level.
Primary Language
The first language learned by a child, usually the language of his or her home and most often used to express ideas and concepts.
Productive Language
Language that is communicated; includes the language domains of speaking and writing.
Reading
The ability to process, understand, interpret and evaluate written language, symbols and text with understanding and fluency.
Realia
Real-life objects used for supporting language development.
Receptive Language
Language that is processed and interpreted; includes the language domains of listening and reading.
Rubric
See Analytic or Holistic rubrics.
Scaffolding
Building on already acquired skills and knowledge from level to level of language proficiency based on increased linguistic complexity, vocabulary usage and language control through the use of supports.
Self-Contained
A classroom in which the students share similar academic requirements. For example, all the Spanish-speaking children in a school or school district will be contained in the same classroom.
Self-contained Classroom
Is a classroom in which the students share similar academic requirements. For example, all the Spanish-speaking children in a school or school district will be contained in the same classroom.
Sensory Supports
A type of scaffold that facilitates students’ deeper understanding of language or access to meaning through the senses (seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, or tasting).
Sheltered English
An instructional approach used to make academic instruction in English understandable to limited English proficient students. Students in these classes are “sheltered” in that they do not compete academically with native English speakers in the mainstream. In the sheltered classroom, teachers use physical activities, visual aids, and the environment to teach vocabulary for concept development in math, science, social studies, and other subjects (National Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education, 1987).
Social Language Proficiency
The use of language for daily interaction and communication.
Speaking
Oral communication used in a variety of situations for a variety of purposes and audiences.
Specialized Vocabulary
Academic terms or phrases associated with the content areas of Language Arts, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies.
Strand of Model Performance Indicators (MPIs)
The five sequential or scaffold levels of English language proficiency for a given topic or genre and language domain.
Student-Teacher Ratio
In bilingual and ESL classes the ratio does not exceed 90% of the average student teacher ratio in the general program classes for the same grade in that attendance center as of September 30 of each school year. If the bilingual/ESL class size increases after this date, the ratio does not exceed the average student-teacher ratio in general education classes for the same grade in the attendance center.
Subtractive Bilingualism
Occurs in an environment in which the second language and culture are intended to replace the first language/culture (Lambert, 1982).
Summative Framework
Strands of model performance indicators descriptive of English language learners’ cumulative language development or outcomes of acquiring English; that is, the products of learning.
Supports
Instructional strategies or tools used to assist students in accessing content necessary for classroom understanding or communication; may include teachers employing techniques (such as modeling, feedback or questioning), or students using visuals or graphics, interacting with others, or using their senses to help construct meaning of oral or written language.
Technical Vocabulary
The most scientific or precise terminology associated with topics within the content areas of Language Arts, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies.
Title III
Language Instruction for Limited English Proficient and Immigrant Students SEC. 3101. SHORT TITLE. This part may be cited as the 'English Language Acquisition, Language Enhancement, and Academic Achievement Act'. SEC. 3102. PURPOSES. The purposes of this part are (1) to help ensure that children who are limited English proficient, including immigrant children and youth, attain English proficiency, develop high levels of academic attainment in English, and meet the same challenging State academic content and academic achievement standards as all children are expected to meet.
Topic
A particular theme or concept derived from state and national content standards that provides a social or academic content-related context for language development; an element of model performance indicators.
Transformations
Manipulation of the elements of model performance indicators, such as changing the example topics or types of support, to personalize the representation of the English language proficiency standards for teachers and classrooms.
Transitional Bilingual Education
Also known as early-exit bilingual education, is an instructional program in which subjects are taught in two languages—English and the native language of the limited English proficient students. The primary purpose of these programs is to facilitate the LEP student’s transition to an all-English instructional environment while receiving academic subject instruction in the native language to the extent necessary. Programs vary in the amount of native language instruction provided and the duration of the program (U.S. General Accounting Office, 1994).
When an attendance center enrolls 20 or more students of the same language group, it must establish a TBE program in accordance with school code.
Transitional Bilingual Education (TBE)
When an attendance center enrolls 20 or more students of the same language group, it must establish a TBE program in accordance with school code.
Transitional Language
Transitional bilingual education in a remedial or compensatory model of bilingual education designed to prepare ELLs to enter mainstream classrooms. A portion of instruction might be in the child's first language. After 2-3 years, students are generally "transitioned" into the mainstream (all English) classroom. The transitional language in this case would be the child's first language.
Transitional Program of Instruction (TPI)
When an attendance center enrolls one to nineteen ELLs of the same language group, it must establish an individualized program of instruction in accordance with school code.
Visually Supported
Print or text that is accompanied by pictures, illustrations, photographs, charts, tables, graphs, graphic organizers, or reproductions thereby offering English language learners opportunities to access meaning from multiple sources.
Vocabulary Usage
The specificity of words or phrases for a given context.
W-APT
This is a shortened, adaptive version of the ACCESS for ELLs English proficiency test. It is used to screen students reporting a home language other than English within 30 days of enrollment in the district for the first time. It can also be used to re-designate students as Limited English Proficient or Fluent English Proficient. Only teachers and other certified school district staff who are certified to administer the ACCESS can administer the test.
WIDA (World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment )
A consortium of states dedicated to the design and implementation of high standards and equitable educational opportunities for English language learners. This Consortium has developed English language proficiency standards and an English language proficiency test aligned with those standards (ACCESS for ELLs®).
Writing
Written communication used in a variety of forms for a variety of purposes and audiences.