Setting Expected Gains for Non and Limited English Proficient Students.
De Avila, Edward
National Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education, Washington, DC.
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This document discusses "expected gain" as an important concept in documenting the educational development of limited- and non-English-proficient students, explaining that the concept requires an analysis of the relationship between quality of instruction and measurable student outcomes. The document discusses three factors which underlie this relationship and provide the foundation upon which expectations for learning can be generated in a meaningful manner: (1) assessment requirements; (2) setting expectations and sensitivity to growth; and (3) instructional practices and programs. After defining language proficiency and exploring its relationship to academic success in mainstream classrooms, the document describes psychometric and pedagogical implications that follow from the factors mentioned above. It offers data from the Los Angeles Unified School District that documents the "rate of growth" within bilingual and English as a Second Language (ESL) programs. The document concludes that acquiring English as a second language proceeds in a nonlinear fashion, and that the common practice of expecting growth of one level per year is perhaps unreasonable and tends to obscure actual growth. An epilogue, "How Long Does It Really Take to Learn English?," presents a small study further supporting this conclusion. (EV)