FAQ from Content Teachers
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ESL Frequently Asked Questions 1. What is the W-APT? The W-APT stands for the WIDA-ACCESS Placement Test™. This assessment tool, known as the "screener", is used by educators to measure the English language proficiency of students who have recently arrived in the U.S. or in a particular district. It can help to determine whether or not a child is in need of English language instructional services, and if so, at what level. 2. What is the WIDA ACCESS? ACCESS for ELLs® 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 used within the school context as well as the language associated with language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies across the four language domains. It is given every spring. 3. What students are eligible to be given the W-APT? When parents enroll their child at school they are requested to fill in a language survey. If any of the answers to this survey is a language other than English, or if the student was born in a country other than the U.S., the student is interviewed by ESL personnel. During this interview, the ESL teacher also looks at the student’s record in order to find previous ESL information, grades, and/or test scores. Many times, the ESL teacher contacts parents so they can provide more information. After this, a decision is made on whether the student needs to be tested or will be labeled English Only. 4. What is LEP? It is an acronym used by the state for Limited English Proficient. Any student who has been tested with the W-APT or ACCESS and scored less than Level 5 (Bridging) in one or more of the four domains (Reading, Listening, Speaking, or Writing) is identified as LEP. 5. My student communicates very well. Why is he still considered LEP? Many times, a student may have scored at Level 5 (Bridging) in Speaking and/or Listening, but have a lower level of proficiency in Reading and/or Writing. 6. What is ESL? English as a Second Language 7. What is DIRECT service? Students who are directly served attend ESL classes. 8. What is CONSULTATIVE service? Students who are on Consultative status do not attend ESL classes, but may request to meet with the ESL teacher at any time during the year in order to receive extra support in any specific task they are working on. 9. What is NCCLAS? It is an alternative assessment which replaces the EOG or EOC given by the state to LEP students who are within their first 24 months in a U.S. school and have scored below Level 4 (Expanding) in Reading on the WIDA W-APT or ACCESS tests. For Writing NCCLAS, students must score below Level 5 (Bridging). 10. How do I know if the LEP student in my class takes the EOGs/EOCs? The ESL teacher will provide you with a copy of the Parent Notification and Consent Form (PNCF) which indicates whether the LEP student will take the standardized tests or the alternative assessment. The testing and classroom accommodations will also be noted on the PNCF if the student qualifies. The PNCF is a legal document and all the accommodations listed on it must be provided in the classroom and on tests. 11. How do LEP students exit ESL services? LEP students exit the ESL program only when they score Level 5 (Bridging) in all four domains (Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking) during the same administration of the WIDA W-APT or ACCESS tests. 12. Can students refuse ESL services? Parents cannot refuse testing. Students who qualify for the W-APT need to be tested and placed in the ESL program. Parents can request Waivered status. Waivered students will not have direct ESL instruction, but they may be eligible for accommodations and must be tested on the ACCESS until they reach Level 5 (Bridging) in all domains. 13. What happens when the LEP student is also an EC student? EC overrules ESL. If there is a conflict in schedule, the student must attend his EC classes. Regarding testing accommodations, EC overrides ESL. 14. When should I use the Pass/Fail grading system instead of a numeric grade? You choose the Pass/Fail for a student who has a low level of proficiency in English. It is sometimes easier to use Pass/Fail when your grading is focused on the student’s effort rather than on the student’s content knowledge. 15. Can I fail an LEP student? Most of the time, the answer to this question will be NO. The law is very clear on this. It is ILLEGAL to give failing grades or to retain an LEP student if the student’s lack of mastery is due to his limited English. Unless content area materials and assignments have been specifically adapted to meet the needs of the LEP child at his level of English proficiency, a grade of “F” cannot be justified. If you can document that all measures have been taken to adapt and meet the needs of the LEP student and he is not working to his ability (not attempting to complete work on his level), there is nothing that prevents the student from receiving a failing grade. 16. Do LEP students who are taking EOGs have to take Benchmarks? Yes, as any regular student. 17. Do NCCLAS/LEP students have to take Benchmarks? Since these students are on NCCLAS, the results of the Benchmark assessments do not count as a grade for them. This should be a decision made by the ESL teacher, content teacher, NCCLAS Coordinator, and Principal. 18. The LEP student in my class is making low grades and is not completing assignments or turning in homework. What should I do? Identify the problem behavior problem or level of proficiency? Contact the ESL teacher to make her aware of the situation and for suggestions. The student refuses to work notify the ESL teacher immediately. A teacher-parent conference might be needed. The student does not turn in assignments, or assignments are incomplete, or the student tends to copy from others Modify instruction and assignments. Notify the ESL teacher and request her assistance in modifying assignments. 19. How should I modify assignments and tests for my LEP student? It is essential that you look at the content and materials to be used ahead of time. If you know it is going to be too difficult for your student’s level of proficiency, do not assign it to him. The student will be unable to participate and become frustrated. Try the following: Shorten/Simplify - Decide what the essential skills and vocabulary words your student needs in order to grasp a basic concept. Keep these to a limited and manageable number. Appropriate materials - Look for materials on your topic written at a lower reading level – you may want to use an elementary level book, a library book, or a website with information for beginning ESL students. Involve your ESL teacher in the process - Request help from your ESL teacher. Before starting a new unit, inform her of the topic you are planning to teach and request her help in finding appropriate materials. The key elements are: Plan ahead and find appropriate materials to involve your ESL students. Include your ESL teacher in this process. 20. May I send my LEP student to the ESL teacher with class assignments/projects/tests to get help? The ESL teacher is expected to follow the WIDA Standards for LEP students and cannot regularly take time from planned ESL lessons to help students with specific assignments from other classes. With advance notice, some topics can be included in the regular ESL class for the benefit of all the students in the group. If this is not the case, if the schedule allows, the ESL teacher may be able to work with on a one-on-one basis with the student. 21. What happens when I need to communicate with parents who speak very little or no English? Let your ESL teacher know immediately. The ESL staff, at 134 Franklin Blvd. (336-370-8982), can make the necessary arrangements for you to have an interpreter to assist you.