A Framework for Raising Expectations and Instructional Rigor for English Language Learner Students

The Council of the Great City Schools is a membership organization of 67 of the nations’ largest urban public school districts

Author(s) Organizational Affiliation
The Council of the Great City Schools
Publication Year
Resource Type
Informational Material
Number of Pages

The Council of the Great City Schools is a membership organization of 67 of the nations’ largest urban public school districts. A survey of members revealed that quality instructional materials for English language learners (ELL) are in short supply and the need has accelerated by the adoption of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). In this report, two critical challenges are addressed. “One, it outlines a framework for acquiring English and attaining content mastery across the grades in an era when new college and career-ready standards require more reading in all subject areas. And two, it presents criteria by which school administrators and teachers can determine whether instructional materials being considered for implementation are appropriate for English Language Learners and are consistent with the Common Core State Standards.”


Benefits and Uses

The resource describes how the needs of ELLs can be met within the framework of English Language Arts/Literacy CCSS standards. It provides:

  • A new vision for English language development
  • The provision of examples of instructional delivery models
  • Step-by-step guidance for selecting instructional materials that will accelerate the acquisition of academic language and grade-level content for all English learners.

This resource is unusual in that it offers a framework for evaluating curriculum both for its alignment to college and career readiness (CCR) standards AND for its suitability with ELLs. It addresses all the key instructional advances in light of special procedures and supports that should be considered for an ELL population.It does not back away from the high expectations of the CCR standards for ELLs, and it clearly describes what sorts of language supports should be built in to materials designed to be effective for ELLs.

The resource has several potential audiences in programs with a significant ELL population. These include program administrators, curriculum developers, and teachers. 

The resource describes possible ELL program models and core elements of effective English language development. These discussions could lead to ideas on how to structure lessons and delivery to ELLs in adult education programs.

The framework for ELL resource alignment can be used by adult educators who are trying to evaluate curriculum materials for both their suitability to ELL students and their degree of alignment to the CCR standards. The clear criteria for assessing resources could be used program wide to ensure consistency in the quality and appropriateness of materials across a program or state. The resource can also be used by individual teachers to evaluate the effectiveness of their ELL materials. This could be especially important for adult education programs as individual teachers are more likely to make their own decisions about which instructional materials and resources to use in their classrooms.

The resource would also be a really useful conversation starter/organizer for ELL instructors who may be particularly anxious about how the new CCR standards apply to their population.

The framework for ELL resource alignment: Evaluating Instructional Materials: A User’s Guide is particularly useful (pp. 11-26). The framework builds on the Instructional Materials Evaluation Tool (IMET) developed by Student Achievement Partners for K-12 and adds non-negotiable criteria for ELLs.  The IMET tool is more detailed than the resource alignment tool developed for adult education as part of OCTAE’s Implementing CCR Standards in Adult Education project, but it is appropriate for adult education with some minor revision. These revisions include changes in language as the document refers to K-12 grades rather than CCR A-E levels and some modification of Section II: Alignment Criteria to reflect CCR standards rather than the full range of CCSS.

The discussion of additional considerations that play a role in the evaluation process are also worthy of attention (pp. 22-6). The discussion includes consideration of cultural relevance and respect, student materials and support for language development, intervention, teacher material and professional development, and instructional technology.

The English Language Development (ELD) 2.0 framework is also a useful tool for adult educators (pp. 4-7). The framework articulates core elements of effective English language development and ideas for how these may be achieved.

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