Curriculum-Based Measurement for English Learners Essay (Article)
Purpose of the Study
Non-native English speakers in learning institutions have been scoring lower grades in English classes compared to native speakers (Menken, 2006). This is the concern that has called for the introduction of the “No Child Left Behind” legislation where instructors are supposed to apply the “teach to learn” strategy to equip English Language Learners (ELLs). The purpose of this study was to find out how high-stakes tests have influenced the language policy in schools (Menken, 2006).
The study was carried out in New York City, where 10 sets of data were collected from 10 high schools in the city. Data were collected to facilitate the evaluation of the current effects that the “No Child Left Behind” policy has on ELLs in high schools. Different stakeholders in English language teaching were interviewed for this study. Among those interviewed were teachers, students, as well as administrators. The research methodology was, therefore, evidence-based. This method was important because it would help in coming up with real-time data for drawing up relevant conclusions.
Dependent variables included the measurement of the effects that the reforms influenced in the way the English language was taught, as well as the learning experiences for English Language Learners in New York City high schools (Menken, 2006). Independent variables, on the other hand, included focusing on the way English Language Learners perform in English tests compared to the native English speakers.
It was presumed that the collected data was not 100% reliable for data analysis. The observers used audiotape recordings to transcribe the data that was then coded for purposes of analysis. The results of the study were based on the topics or themes that came up the most times during the interview. It emerged that teachers are focused on making students pass English tests, a situation that has led to increased pressure for the teachers to “teach to the test”. This is the term that emerged most of the time during the interviews. The term was, therefore, used for the results. Although it is not an accurate one, the term gave results that could be used to make varied conclusions since it reflected what is happening in high schools.
The study approved the hypothesis about the fact that the new policy has influenced the way the English language is taught. The standardized tests have become policies in the English language when associated with the consequences of high stakes. The new policy has affected the way the English language is being taught, the people who are teaching the language, as well as those who are being taught. Teachers teach the English language for the students to pass their exams. The number of instructions that English Language Learners receive has been increased by most teachers.
This article has focused on the various ways through which the English language can be taught to both native speakers and non-native speakers. I agree that the policies do not focus on the various ways of teaching English that can be aimed at addressing the needs of various students. Students have various needs in learning. However, their use of data from just 10 schools is not sufficient to form a basis for generalizing the results to the entire country. Moreover, the data was not 100% reliable, just like the authors cite. It is, therefore, important to address each of the needs to improve the quality of learning. This policy only focuses on making the students pass, thus the legislation is not fully comprehensive in increasing the quality of learning. It is assumed that all the students have the same needs in learning the language, a statement that is not true. The ELLs are said to be awkwardly included in this educational reform. The policy should be modified to address the needs of various students. More and broader studies should be conducted to reflect the real situation on the ground.
Menken, K. (2006). Teaching to the test: how no child left behind impacts language policy, curriculum, and instruction for English language learners. Bilingual Research Journal, 30(2), 521-546.