Effective Program Implementation for Language Minority Students

These questions serve as a guide in assessing the quality of implementation of programs designed to address the English language and academic learning needs of language minority students.

Teacher Professional Preparation and Certification

Do teachers assigned to the program have preservice and/or inservice training in models of language-minority (LM) education, methods of instructing language-minority students in English language development and academic content, and assessment procedures for LM students?

How many teachers are bilingual in the primary language of the students’ and English?

How many teachers hold specialized teaching credentials or certificates for instructing LM students? BCLAD? CLAD credential or certificate? SB 1969 training?

How many contact hours of inservice training have teachers assigned to the program received in cross-cultural language and academic development?

Curriculum and Instructional Materials

To what extent is the theoretical model of the LM program clearly articulated in a policy document or curriculum plan?

Is there a sequence and progression defining what should be taught at each grade level?

Is there a master plan with benchmarks to ensure that students are progressing according to program guidelines and expectations?

How are LM students grouped for appropriate instruction for their level of language proficiency and content-area achievement?

Is this sequence and progression aligned with the language arts and content standards required by the state and/or local school district?

Have teachers received in-service training in how to implement the curriculum?

To what extent are teachers in the classroom carrying out the adopted model of LM instruction in practice through appropriate lesson planning and instructional strategies?

What appropriate support materials are available for teaching English language development, second-language reading and “sheltered” academic content?

Assessment for Program Monitoring and Improvement

What assessment instruments are used for LM students’ initial program placement?

What criteria, such as cut-off scores and multiple measures of language proficiency and academic achievement, are applied for placing students?

Are these criteria based on effective practices in educating LM students and sound theories of second language acquisition and cognitive development in second-language learners?

Are program data disaggregated to monitor and follow students’ progress according to language proficiency, length of time in the program, type of program treatment, and programs to address any academic deficits that may occur as students are learning English?

What criteria are used for redesignation (exit, reclassification)? Are these criteria based on sound pedagogical principles and objective data? Are these criteria being applied in a timely manner for all LM students in the program?

Is there a plan to follow up and monitor students’ progress after they leave the program? If students are found not to be making satisfactory academic progress and recouping any academic deficits incurred while learning English, what process or procedures exist to address these deficits?

Assessment and Evaluation of Language Minority Students

These forms of assessment are used in language minority education programs to monitor students’ progress and to evaluate the effectiveness of program implementation at various the school district and school policy, administrative and classroom levels.

Language Assessment

Formal L2 language assessment instruments (CELDT, LAS, IPT, BSM, Woodstock-Muñoz, etc.)

Teacher observation rating scales (SOLOM, Foreign Service Institute Scale)

Language interviews and checklists (linguistic and communicative competencies)

Informal classroom observations (systematic, written record vs. non-systematic, not recorded)

Academic Assessment

Standardized test scores (reliability and validity issues)

Informal reading inventory and other reading assessments (CORE, Results, etc.)

Writing samples scored based on a rubric

Criterion-referenced tests (commercial or teacher-made)


Program Placement Criteria

Initial English language proficiency score

Native language (L1) language and/or literacy assessment

Educational history in country of origin

Types of programs and student groupings

Length of residence in the USA

Length of time in L2 program

Staffing patterns and teacher input

Parental consent

Program Exit Criteria

Language proficiency (retest)

Standardized test scores in reading and content areas

Informal reading inventory

Writing proficiency (grammar, syntax, spelling, composition)

Length of time in L2 program


Teacher recommendation

Parental consent