Publications & Resources

Consequences and Validity of Performance Assessment for English Language Learners: Conceptualizing and Developing Teachers’ Expertise in Academic Language

Sep 2006

Zenaida Aguirre-Muñoz, Jae Eun Parks, Aprile Benner, Anastasia Amabisca and Christy Kim Boscardin

The purpose of this report is to provide the theoretical rationale for the approach to academic language that was adopted to meet the research goals of the second phase of this project as well as to report on the results from the pilot training program that was developed to create the conditions under which varying levels of direct instruction in academic language occurs. The challenge was to find an approach for the instruction of academic language that would serve a dual purpose. The first purpose was aimed at building teachers’ understanding of the key components of academic language to improve their instructional decision-making. The second goal was to provide teachers with tools for providing ELLs with direct instruction on academic language and thereby support their English language development. After careful review of the literature, we found that the functional linguistic approach to language development best met these goals. We developed training modules on writing instruction based on the functional linguistic approach, as it has the strongest potential in providing explicit instruction to support ELL student writing development. Overall, teachers responded positively to the functional linguistic approach and were optimistic about its potential for improving ELL writing development. Responses to the pre-and post institute survey revealed that teachers felt better prepared in evaluating student writing from a functional linguistic perspective as well as in developing instructional plans that targeted specific learning needs.

Aguirre-Muñoz, Z., Parks, J. E., Benner, A., Amabisca, A., & Boscardin, C. K. (2006). Consequences and validity of performance assessment for English language learners: Conceptualizing and developing teachers’ expertise in academic language (CSE Report 700). Los Angeles: University of California, Los Angeles, National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST).