No Child Left Behind and English Language Learners

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Title III of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act requires that all English language learners (ELLs) receive quality instruction for learning both English and grade-level academic content. NCLB allows local flexibility for choosing programs of instruction, while demanding greater accountability for ELLs' English language and academic progress.

Under Title III, states are required to develop standards for English Language Proficiency and to link those standards to the state's Academic Content Standards. Schools must make sure that ELLs are part of their state's accountability system and that ELLs' academic progress is followed over time.

Here are some of the NCLB requirements concerning ELLs:

All ELL students' English language proficiency must be tested at least once a year. All ELLs have to take state academic achievement tests in language arts and math, except that ELL students who have been in the U.S. for less than one year do not have to take the language arts test for that first year. If available from the state, ELL students can take these language arts and math tests in their native languages. ELL students who have been in U.S. schools for three consecutive years must be tested in reading/language arts using a test written in English, although on a case-by-case basis, this period can be extended up to five years. ELL students as a group must meet specific annual targets of Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). Schools, districts, and states will be held accountable for ensuring that they meet these targets. Teachers must be certified as English language proficient. School districts are to certify that all teachers in a language instruction education program for ELL students are fluent in English and any other language used by the program, including written and oral communication skills. Curricula must be demonstrated to be effective. Language instruction curricula used to teach ELL children are to be tied to scientifically based...
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