Friday, August 3, 2012

What’s the Same in the 2012 Amplification of the ELD Standards?

Have you heard?  The 2012 amplification of the English language development standards is now available.  I downloaded a copy for myself and took some time to compare and contrast the 2007 edition and the new 2012 amplification of the ELD Standards.  But first things first, find some small sticky notes or tabs and flag the following pages.  These are the ones you’ll be referencing the most as you begin to use this document. 

·         p. 7 – Features of academic language
·         p. 8-9 – Performance definitions
·         p 15 – Guiding questions for the components of the ELD strands
·         p. 16 – Blank template for drafting standards of MPIs
·         p. 18- Two integrated strands (K-5 and 6-12)
·         p. 22 - Eleven expanded strands (K-8, 9/10, 11/12)
·         p. 45 - Strands by grade level (K-8, 9/10, 11/12)
·         p. 112 – Glossary of terms

Now, I suggest opening up your 2007 edition of the ELP Standards to page 28.  Then open up your 2012 amplification of the ELD Standards to page 76. If you are a new member of the Consortium (Hi, CNMI and Massachusetts!) don’t worry -  just pull out the 2012 book.

Here are the similarities....

On the top of the page:
The standards- the five standards have stayed exactly the same:
1.       Social and Instructional Language
2.       Language of Language Arts
3.       Language of Math
4.       Language of Science
5.       Language of Social Studies

The example topic – this is exactly what it sounds like.  It is the example topic used for that strand of MPIs.  In the 2007 edition, the example topic is listed on the left side of the page next to the language domain.  In the 2012 amplification of the standards , the example topic is in the top right corner of the page. 

In the middle of the page:
The strands of MPIs (Model Performance Indicators) – this is the official name for the row of little boxes going across the page.  They are a series of language progressions, and they are a feature common to both editions of the standards.

The three components of each MPI  - inside each MPI box, there are still three components.  They are: the language function, content stem and instructional support.  For more on how to identify the three components, click here

Instructional supports – you can find these inside each MPI from Level 1- Entering all the way up through Level 4- Expanding. 

In my next post, I’ll tell you about what has changed and the new features in the 2012 amplification. 

Written by: Tammy King


  1. That is just it- WIDA has kept too much the same in this amplification and did not venture to present a clearer standards framework or academic language construct. Despite some additions, the WIDA framework is still heavily based on MPIs (Model Performance Indicators) and transforming or changing MPIs. The flexibility of creating new PIs (performance indicators) from the example MPIs in the WIDA 2004, 2007, and 2012 frameworks may be seen as a benefit, but the variability and challenges associated with MPI transformation leave the WIDA framework without a solid foundation to anchor instruction and assessment. There are the new Features of Academic Language, and the Performance Definitions have changed in the amplification, but these are still extremely general and are K-12 in scope. Therefore, they are not a very useful tool for transforming MPIs or for analyzing academic language development. The expanded standards in the amplification show examples of of Linguistic Complexity, and Language Forms of Conventions, and Vocabulary targets based on an MPI, thus encouraging more refined language instruction. However, there are no resources in the 2012 Amplification to tease out specific targets for each of the 3 academic language features based on a Performance Indicator (PI). How will educators identify and address this level of linguistic specificity without such resources?

    In addition, although WIDA MPIs are only sample indicators, they often assessed as standards in the WIDA ACCESS for ELLs, the WIDA MODEL and are aligned to content standards such as the Common Core. This double speak of the MPI as both a standard and as an example indicator is highly confusing.

    WIDA has evolved as a World class organization. The WIDA standards framework and its construct of academic language, however, have evolved minimally since 2003. It is clear that WIDA does not want strict ELP standards and sees the flexibility in the WIDA framework and transforming MPIs as its strength. Then, it should create expanded, stable components of the framework other than the very global performance definitions. They also should generate an articulated academic language construct. Without a firmer foundation and a reliance on transforming MPIs as the core component of the WIDA framework, WIDA is like a house built on sand. I believe WIDA can jack up the house and lay a solid foundation to better the support the instruction and assessment for ELLs.

  2. Hi Mark,
    It's wonderful to hear from you and thank you very much for your thoughtful feedback, as always! You are always pushing us to refine and improve, which is most appreciated.

    With regard to "expanded, stable components of the framework" and an "articulated academic language construct", I beg you to "stay tuned." We are moving in that direction a bit as the Features of Academic Language in this publication as well as research we have conducted will be informing the development of Language Learning Progressions by grade levels, based on key language functions. This work will support the ASSETS grant we have received which includes benchmark and formative assessment guidance and materials. The LLPs are expected to serve as a foundation to the development of these new assessments and resources. That said, we always emphasize that language development varies tremendously based on students' background knowledge and skills, so educators must always use our work as examples as there is no single path to proficiency for all students.

    I hope you will continue to keep in touch and we would love for you to review these and other future materials. The same goes for any other educator who may be reading this! Thank you again, Mark!

    Andrea Cammilleri
    WIDA Assistant Director of Educator Resources & Technology

  3. Hi Andrea. I greatly appreciate your feedback and the work you are all doing at WIDA.
    I still wonder how we can be testing and be holding students,districts, and states accountable for academic language development when we still know so little about the specifics of AL and its development. I agree there is so much variability in language development, yet the fact remains that we (all states in US) are testing AL as if we know what it is and how it develops. This is not just a WIDA issue. It is a national issue in that for the past 9 years we have been using high stakes ELP tests to test AL when there is still so much research to be done around AL and its components. This would never happen in other academic areas.

    As you said, WIDA is still developing/researching more specific elements of its AL model.This is great. I have no doubt that it will be quality. However, we using the ACCESS test and its results as if we know what we are assessing.