Supporting Academic Success for ELL Students
As public pressure mounts to raise academic scores and improve graduation rates for all students, schools are increasingly placing emphasis on closing the ELL achievement gap. Educators are challenged to offer effective solutions for ELL students who struggle with academic coursework while they are developing English proficiency.
Increasing ELL Comprehension Using Instructional Scaffolding*
*Instructional scaffolding is a teaching model based on providing sufficient one-on-one support to individual students when new concepts and skills are first introduced.
GSN offers online courses with extensive scaffolding for students who are not English proficient. The use of controlled vocabulary and syntax, chunked text, and short page lengths with limited scrolling all facilitate reading comprehension. Useful options for providing critical assistance to ELL students include:
- listening to instructional text read aloud in English (and in Spanish for math courses);
- using rollover vocabulary to support academic language proficiency;
- using media to provide multiple concept representations; and
- providing interactive self-assessments including immediate feedback.
Matching Instruction to Individual ELL Student Needs
ELL students come to school with diverse skills and knowledge based on the formal education they received in their home country, their first-language literacy level and their English proficiency skills. Global Student Network recommends the use of Apex Learning’s multiple course pathways as a method of determining appropriate individual instructional levels and addressing unique ELL student needs. Apex Learning courseware allows teachers to develop student literacy and math skills using age-appropriate content.
- Foundations courses are designed specifically for ELL students ages 13 and older. The courses provide structured remediation focused on developing reading, writing, and math skills and strategies to prepare basic- and intermediate-level ELL students for grade-level academic content.
- Literacy Advantage courses support success in math, science, English, and social studies using embedded literacy scaffolding. This scaffolding helps ELL students at the basic or intermediate level comprehend grade-level academic content and succeed in high school courses required for graduation while simultaneously developing their capacity as English-speaking readers and writers.