Glossary of Terms related to English Language Acquisition
Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BICS): Also known as Conversational or Social Language. Everyday, straightforward communication skills that are helped by contextual support. The language ability required for verbal face-to-face communication.
Bilingual Syntax Measure (BSM): assessment used measure a student’s language dominance. This oral assessment is generally administered at the time of a student’s admission to Holyoke Public Schools and is used to determine a student’s LAU category in combination with factors such as a student’s home language.
Biliteracy: The ability to read and write proficiently in two languages.
Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP): The level of second language proficiency needed by students to perform the more abstract and cognitively demanding tasks of a classroom. Such language is often abstract, without contextual supports such as gestures and the research of objects. The language ability required for academic achievement.
Castañeda v. Pickard : On June 23, 1981, the Fifth Circuit Court issued a decision that is the seminal post-Lau decision concerning education of language minority students. The case established a three-part test to evaluate the adequacy of a district's program for ELL students:
(1) is the program based on an educational theory recognized as sound by some experts in the field or is considered by experts as a legitimate experimental strategy;
(2) are the programs and practices, including resources and personnel, reasonably calculated to implement this theory effectively; and
(3) does the school district evaluate its programs and make adjustments where needed to ensure language barriers are actually being overcome? [648 F.2d 989 (5th Cir., 1981)]
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.
Communicative Competence: The ability to use any form of language appropriate to the demands of social situations. The components of communicative competence include linguistic knowledge, cultural knowledge, and interaction skills.
Dual Language Program : Also known as two-way or developmental, the goal of these bilingual programs is for 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.
ELL : English language learner. A national-origin-minority student who is limited-English-proficient. This term is often preferred over limited-English-proficient (LEP) as it highlights accomplishments rather than deficits. Massachusetts law defines an English learner as a student who cannot perform ordinary classwork in English.
English as a Second Language (ESL) : A program of techniques, methodology and special curriculum designed to teach ELL students English language skills, which may include listening, speaking, reading, writing, study skills, content vocabulary, and cultural orientation. ESL instruction is usually in English with little use of native language.
Equal Education Opportunities Act of 1974 : This civil rights statute prohibits states from denying equal educational opportunity to an individual on account of his or her race, color, sex, or national origin. The statute specifically prohibits states from denying equal educational opportunity by the failure of an educational agency to take appropriate action to overcome language barriers that impede equal participation by its students in its instructional programs. [20 U.S.C. §1203(f)]
English Language Learner (ELL): An alternate term that is used to describe a limited English proficient (LEP) student, which focuses on the development of the English language, rather than viewing the native language as a deficit. Massachusetts law interchangeably uses the term English learner in place of ELL.
English Language Proficiency Benchmarks and Outcomes (ELPBO): A document designed by the Massachusetts Department of Education which includes benchmarks and outcomes that outline the progress of an ELL student as s/he acquires English proficiency in the four domains of language. The benchmarks and outcomes are assessed annually using the Massachusetts English Proficiency Assessment (MEPA) and bi-annually using the Massachusetts English Language Assessment - Oral (MELA-O).
Formerly English Limited Proficient (FLEP): A student who was formerly an LEP student who has a level of English proficiency that approximates that of a native English speaking student.
Four Domains of Language: Comprehension (Listening), Production (Speaking), Reading, and Writing.
Informed Parental Consent : The permission of a parent to enroll their child in an ELL program, or the refusal to allow their child to enroll in such a program, after the parent is provided effective notice of the educational options and the district's educational recommendation.
Holyoke Literacy Assessment: An Individualized Reading Inventory generally administered upon a student’s admission to Holyoke Public Schools that is used to measure a student’s proficiency in reading and writing in English.
Home Language Survey: A survey required by the Office of Civil Rights upon a student’s admission to a public school to determine the predominant language spoken in the student’s home.
Language-Cognitive Needs Profile: A form in the cumulative folder of a student who has been identified as an English language learner upon entry into the Holyoke Public Schools. This profile is a record of initial and other assessment data, (BSM, literacy, Lau category), English proficiency levels, and other language related information. We are required to update it regularly.
Language Dominance: Refers to the measurement of the degree of bilingualism, which implies a comparison of the proficiencies in two or more languages.
Lau Categories: Categories of Relative Proficiency defined by English and Spanish Proficiency Levels and Equivalents 1975 Lau Categories: A: Mono-lingual speaker of a language other than English; B; Predominantly speaks a language other than English; C: Balanced Bilingual; D: Predominantly speaks English; E: Monolingual speaker of English. A Lau category always remains the same regardless of the student’s proficiency level in English over time.
Lau vs. Nichols: A class action suit brought by the parents of non-English-Proficient Chinese students against the San Francisco Unified School District. In 1974, the Supreme Court ruled that identical education does not constitute equal education under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The court ruled that the district must take affirmative steps to overcome the educational barriers faces by non-English speaking students in the district. [414 U.S. 563 (1974)].
Limited English Proficient (LEP): Individuals who, by foreign birth or ancestry, speak a language other than English, and either understand and speak little or no English. (See ELL)
Language Proficiency : Refers to the degree to which the student exhibits control over the use of language, including the measurement of expressive and receptive language skills in the areas of phonology, syntax, vocabulary, and semantics and including the areas of pragmatics or language use within various domains or social circumstances. Proficiency in a language is judged independently and does not imply a lack of proficiency in another language.
Low Incidence Population (LIP): Similar to LEP, except that the individual is not a member of the dominant English learner group. In Holyoke, Spanish is the dominant English learner group. Students whose first language is not Spanish are considered LIP. They must receive structured English support.
Massachusetts English Language Assessment - Oral (MELA-O): A bi-annual assessment designed to measure a student’s progress in Listening (comprehension) and speaking (Production) based upon the English Language Proficiency Benchmarks and Outcomes (ELPBO).
Massachusetts English Proficiency Assessment (MEPA): An assessment designed to measure a student’s progress in reading and writing based upon the English Language Proficiency Benchmarks and Outcomes (ELPBO).
The May 25 Memorandum : To clarify a school district's responsibilities with respect to national-origin-minority children, the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, on May 25, 1970, issued a policy statement stating, in part, that "where inability to speak and understand the English language excludes national-origin-minority group children from effective participation in the educational program offered by a school district, the district must take affirmative steps to rectify the language deficiency in order to open the instructional program to the students."
Native Language (L1): The first or initial language learned by a child.
Scaffolding: Scaffolding is an interactive method of teaching and learning where the teacher provides a temporary framework for the learner who is working just beyond his/her independent capabilities (NTDE, 1995). It can and should occur in all aspects of learning in order to assist students to achieve their potential, and comprises the temporary guiding, modeling and cueing of students. This is achieved by the teacher sharing the cognitive workload to link the known to the unknown using the techniques of: cueing and questioning, demonstrating and modeling, role and problem identification, planning, monitoring, and evaluating
Through the teacher’s scaffolding students are encouraged to assume increased responsibility for their learning. In practical terms, scaffolding might include such things as: Having concrete examples for reference, body language & gestures, language accompanying action, building on to what students say, rephrasing, guided questioning, charts and frameworks, picture cues, word lists, negotiating texts before students write independently, and working from oral to written.
Scaffolding reduces the possibility of the student making mistakes by doing the activity with the learner (Gray, 1990).
Second Language (L2): This term is used in different, overlapping ways, and can mean: (1) the second language learned (chronologically); (2) the weaker language; (3) a language that is not the “mother tongue”; (4) the less used language; (5) the target language. This term is sometimes used to describe third and further languages.
Sheltered English Immersion (SEI): An instructional approach used to make academic instruction in English comprehensible to ELL students. In the sheltered classroom, teachers use physical activities, visual aids, and the environment to teach vocabulary for the concept development in mathematics, science, social studies, and other subjects.
Structured English Immersion Program : The goal of this program is acquisition of English language skills so that the ELL student can succeed in an English-only mainstream classroom. All instruction in an immersion strategy program is in English. Teachers have specialized training in meeting the needs of ELL students, possessing either a bilingual education or ESL teaching credential and/or training, and strong receptive skills in the students' primary language.
Submersion Program : A submersion program places ELL students in a regular English-only program with little or no support services on the theory that they will pick up English naturally. This program should not be confused with a structured English immersion program.
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 : Title VI prohibits discrimination on the grounds of race, color, or national origin by recipients of federal financial assistance. The Title VI regulatory requirements have been interpreted to prohibit denial of equal access to education because of a language minority student's limited proficiency in English.
Transitional Bilingual Education Program : This program, also known as early-exit bilingual education, utilizes a student's primary language in instruction. The program maintains and develops skills in the primary language and culture while introducing, maintaining, and developing skills in English. The primary purpose of a TBE program is to facilitate the ELL student's transition to an all English instructional program while receiving academic subject instruction in the native language to the extent necessary.