I. R. (2012). Examining the validity of the Arizona English Language Learners Assessment cut scores. Lang Policy Language Policy Research Paper

I. R. (2012). Examining the validity of the Arizona English Language Learners Assessment cut scores. Lang Policy Language Policy Research Paper

Abstract English is an integral subject in school as a language of instruction in the American system of education. For students to get a grasp of what is contained in the other topics, they must have at the very least, a basic understanding of the English language. A high degree of anxiety has been noted on those who take ESL. This research project seeks to study the reasons for anxiety in ESL students in Florida Middle Schools. It examines ways of understanding the problem and giving requisite solutions so that the students can raise their comprehension ability. Contents Abstract 2 Introduction. 4 Problem Statement 5 Purpose of study. 5 Research questions. 5 Literature Review.. 6 The Importance of ESL.. 9 Writing Problems and Difficulties. 10 Teachers Feedback. 10 Attitude of teachers on self-esteem.. 11 Motivation. 12 Prioritizing amongst errors. 13 Looking for patterns. 14 Teaching Esl in Florida. 14 Research Method. 15 Design. 15 Data collection and analysis. 15 Operational Def. of Variables. 16 Measurement 17 Summary. 17 References. 18 Appendix. 21 Annotated bibliography. 21 Introduction In the last decade, the policy of No Child Left Behind has resulted in more than a 100% increase in the enrollment of learners that need English fluency in the United States of America. The registration for English language learners (ELL) classes have spiked in the last few years, and the growth continues to rise. Many foreigners who come to the United States, especially from countries where English is not the language of instruction are at a significant disadvantage since the language of instruction in American systems is primarily in English. Those that are not acquainted with taking instructions in the language face a herculean task of adjusting to a new dialect. From the onset, the students must embrace American academic practice of self-reliance, must have the personal drive to shape their educational futures and must conform to the expectations of their peers. Having information literacy is the prerequisite to independent learning and immigrant learners that take English as the second language need it to conform to the academic demands of the new environment. The No Child Left Behind Act of 2002 shows that there is a greater likelihood of students dropping out of school if they are unable to read or write in English. School districts became aware of this aspect and provided students with the best way of giving them instructions while enabling them to grow conceptually by advancing their English. The English as a Second Language curriculum uses technique, methodology that incorporates the use of speaking, reading and content vocabulary to enhance the English speaking, and understanding amongst new learners (Wu, 2014). English as a Second Language (ESL) rarely includes the use of another language to emphasize, but when the grasp of the language is very limited, another mother tongue comes in handy. Statement The ESL students in Florida Middle Schools have lacked the necessary skills needed to cope with reading comprehension both in the English language and in other subjects, and the students do not have the capacity required to attain high scores on standardized assessments as expected. Their strategies that guide them in reading comprehension are inadequate (Halimah, 2015). Purpose of study English comprehension to students who have used it as their first language is easy but to those who learn it as their second language, it requires a steep learning curve. English comprehension tests to ESL students causes anxiety and a feeling of trepidation as they lack skills of coping with the test. While the students showed a high sense of contentment during class teaching, there was a heightened sense of anxiety during examinations. Since reading comprehension scores take an enormous percentage in the final ESL test, a heightened sense of anxiety can be detrimental to passing the examination. This is especially the case with immigrant students who have not used English as the language of instruction before. The purpose of this study is to identify the reading and writing issues of Middle school ESL students and also the curriculum that improves reading comprehension and handling of tests for ESL students. Research of Questions The following questions were raised based on the objective of the study. How often do ESL students in Middle Schools make grammatical mistakes in their presentations? Writing is a very significant skill in the understanding of a language and ESL students need the proficiency in the skill to stand a chance of excelling in other subjects in school. When documentation of the problems faced by ESL students happens, ESL teachers find it easier to adapt their teaching methods to address the shortcomings of their intended students (Snape & Kupisch, 2010). Conducting a study also plays a vital role in doing a self-evaluation and improving in areas where most of the shortcomings arise. Learners also feel that their inadequacies will get recognition when preparing the curricula for the subject. There are three main objectives of this study. First, we seek to identify the problem the Florida Middle School ESL students face in their education. Secondly, we gather information on the role of Florida Middle School ESL teachers in information dissemination and feedback and thirdly, identify the ways of overcoming any learning related problems by Florida Middle School ESL students. Brief Review Recent studies have shown that ESL and EFL students have deficiencies in skills needed to manage reading comprehension tests. What it entails is an analysis on what ESL learners need to pass reading comprehension tests without requisite tools (Huang, 2014). Amongst the barriers of easier learning in ESL are wrong attitude, interference of the first language, meta-recognition, and prior knowledge (Jia, 2015). Learning in unfamiliar scripts, different cultural materials and writing systems caused some reading anxiety amongst students. In addition to this, the diversity of ESL teachers and their proficiency in the language are also other factors that affect the learners and slow language development. There exists a correlation between the findings of a similar study conducted on ESL students elsewhere and American ESL students anxiety levels (Tosuncuoglu,The nature of the problem with an ESL student was that they lack the capacity to manage English comprehension tests. Most of them attain low marks in ESL because of their inability to thrive in reading comprehension segment of the test (Veliyeva, 2016). The problem was not as big on the listening comprehension and vocal parts of the test. Cultural Differences Factors like cultural differences, the style of writing of first language and capacity to embrace new systems play a big role in affecting ESL students. The ability to decipher the written text in English language is especially troubling with students used to writing using special characters or a different way of word formation (Huang,Since America is a land of immigrants, such a group may consist of persons taught to write in Chinese characters, Amharic or Hebrew. The Hebrew interference is especially troubling since its students are used to reading from right to left. Incorporating the idea of reading from left to right for someone who is used to reading from right to left, would take a considerable duration of time to master. Anxiety during Testing During the date of the examinations, from observation, ESL students are fidgety, pull chairs and show a high degree of anxiety (Huang, 2010). This is probably because they lack the tools to battle anxiety and reduce the stress. The increased prominence of such behaviors is an indication that the ESL curriculum lacks the capacity to motivate the students. Efficient reading takes a lot of practice and most of the ESL students waste time trying to interpret the question and seeking for elusive answers. ESL tutors need to incorporate ingenious ways of overcoming the predicament by showing students how to skim and scan through a text to get the overall meaning, especially when doing examinations (Colomar, 2014). A study on stress in ESL language on Mexican girls revealed that they were more anxious about using English in the other subjects. How a student feels about ESL is critical and has a direct correlation with their performance. The feelings of discomfort, anxiety and being overwhelmed distracts the attention needed for subtle cognitive tasks, and are counter-productive as ESL students seldom perform under pressure. Christian Sanz in a research done on ESL students from Japan noted that there is a relationship between the reading anxiety scales and foreign language anxiety in the classroom. There were subtle differences between ESL students at the beginner s level and at a more advanced level. Beginners, when confronted by unfamiliar scripts and phonology, had an immediate rise in anxiety levels while the same is not true for middle school levels. The expectation is that at middle school, ESL tutors do not have monumental problems of grappling with heightened stress levels. At times, the level of anxiety from students can be misleading, and as Karen Woodman pointed out, teachers face an extra challenge of investigating whether the problems that their students face are related to acquiring a new language or they have a learning disability (Wenzhong & Muchun, 2015). The expectation of the parents on their children s performance is also a contributing factor to the rise in anxiety levels. The way parents react to the performance of their children and equate their performances to being smart or not, impacts on their performance. As pointed out by scholars, the tests are not adequate for determining how good a learner is, confidence and effort do (Bahrani, 2011). Proficiency in the First Language Research findings have noted on the influence of the first language on the reading strategies adopted and motivation levels. When their proficiency in the first language is high, the same skills utilized in their mother tongue like skimming through texts to get the general idea works in initial ESL teaching. When students are proficient in their first language but elect not to read it, they are bound to transfer the reading apathy to ESL. Having an innate desire to seek reading knowledge is an important element for students that seek to be proficient in ESL. Knowledge is gained through reading and any apathy towards reading impacts negatively on the ability of the student to excel. Another incapacitating factor on the capacity of the ESL students to thrive is the fear to fail. When the desire to excel overwhelms students that are not prepared to take the baby steps, the performance suffers. Fear of portrayal by others as lacking in proficiency can be limiting; but those who embrace their shortcomings and work towards overcoming them find immediate success. The Importance of ESL English has become the language of business. Since the world has now become a global village since the end of the cold war, more speakers than any one time are embracing the use of English to help in business transactions. The vast number of contracts signed, concessions made in areas of expertise, diplomatic talks held, and forums for answering queries from journalists, all need a grasp of the English language. The existence of competent speakers and writers of the language, therefore, continues to be of importance. Business relations involving multinationals are just one of the reasons why the non-native English speakers need to study the language. Commercial entities from any country can now spring from any country and demand a stake in the world market. We have witnessed companies like IBM and motoring companies acquired by Chinese enterprises that had only been successful in their domestic market (Jia, 2015). To thrive in the world arena, they need a language that is almost universally accepted, and that is where ESL becomes the redeeming feature. Immigration to countries like the United States of America also means that non-native speakers of English must learn the language to make their living worthwhile. Others that need ESL are students who desire to conduct their research in languages understood by many. Doing research in English is especially beneficial if the goal is to roll out a product that is universally accepted. We are familiar with software solutions rolled out in the English market then they take a considerable amount of time for customization into other languages before worldwide rollout. This is because the English-speaking population in the world is substantial and once captured, rollout to others is easier. ESL, therefore, is an integral part of breaking into the business for non-native speakers. Writing Problems and Difficulties The ESL teacher has the onus of ensuring that students understand the contents taught in the other subjects in their course. This is because English being the language of instruction, failure to know it would lead to failure to comprehend what the other teachers are teaching. The bulk of correcting and commenting on the progress of non-native students, thus, falls on to the ESL teacher. Researchers have opined that the students of ESL need to control their writings with the teacher only there to monitor and analyze (Jurkovic, 2010). A responsible teacher in such a setting would be reactive to the needs of the learner and ready to guide when the need arises. Non-native students use notable run-on sentences especially those from the Arabic origin, as Arabic does not demand punctuation marks. Punctuation may not be very significant in other languages but in the English language, it is the defining power; the same words can have different meanings when punctuated differently. Therefore, embracing ESL requires that students recognize its subtle differences from the other languages in terms of punctuation. Teachers Feedback For every system to succeed, a proper feedback mechanism is necessary to note the challenges and devise ways of overcoming them. Different factors can play a large role in influencing the feedback mechanism adopted by tutors (Xu, 2013). The proficiency levels of students, prospects of the education system and expectations of the learner are critical factors that can influence the feedback (Kim, 2014). Besides having a localized feedback mechanism to report on the progress of ESL students, a bigger pro-active strategy was adopted to determine the need for ESL versus alternatives. A comprehensive study on the effectiveness of ESL as a two-way bilingual education, as a one-way developmental system, and as a transitional bilingual education system analyzed before and after feedback mechanisms adopted (Graceful Onovughe,Challenges that face the educators and the students in their area of involvement stick out through a proper feedback mechanism that does not shy away from pointing out the inadequacies of any adopted system (Drakakis-Smith, Day & Davis, 2010). By having the students say what limits them from acquiring proficiency in the shortest duration of time, researchers can show what needs to be changed and what works in the system. A system is only as good as its capacity to self-evaluate, and feedback mechanisms are the means through which ESL learning and teaching self-evaluates (Yi,Students from different locations in the world congregate in ESL teaching facilities in the United States of America by having proper feedback mechanisms, and the teaching curricula is tuned to address their varying challenges. Attitude of Teachers on Self-Esteem There are factors existing outside the mainstream set-up that can affect the way the learner progresses in learning a second language. Factors such as the attitude of the teacher play a significant role in the way the content is taught is adopted. If teachers take a nonchalance attitude towards learning or report to work, not as a conviction but to earn their pay, the students will undoubtedly not perform well. It is therefore very critical to motivate teachers in their work and to make sure that those who teach have the conviction to change the circumstances of their learners. Not every tutor remembers the handicaps overcome before gaining proficiency. To some, proficiency in the language was an inborn trait and do not understand how others struggle with something so basic. It takes a person to work in a minority environment to realize that everyone is handicapped in one way or another. Teachers that have worked in non-conducive conditions are more likely to succeed in ESL teaching than those hardly ever removed from the safety of their communities. Learners will likely improve with the sound knowledge that the learning curve is long but as their teachers surmounted them, they too can. Working with minority communities like the immigrant communities of the United States of America requires devotion beyond the call of duty to understand the predicament of learners. Noting and appreciating student s small improvements lays ground for bigger improvements and desire to build on them. When students start noticing that little progress is discernible, they place more emphasis on reading comprehension to consolidate the gains. Self-drive from reading texts improves the prospects of faster acquisition of language and teachers play a significant role in ensuring that it happens by adopting the right attitude. Minority students are particularly sensitive in that they have a higher probability of dropping out if schools take the wrong approach in teaching them. Motivation For learners to progress in their areas of study, motivation is an essential ingredient. Motivation is one of the key drivers of ESL program from the business community but the reverse is true for middle school students that have recently relocated to English speaking countries. The teacher must adopt strategies of motivating students for them to embrace the endless possibilities brought about by language acquisition and proficiency (Larrotta, 2016). Motivation revolves around the reasons why humans chose to do a particular thing, how hard they persevere to achieve desired goal and how long they maintain the trajectory. If someone wants to succeed in a certain field, they have predetermined goals that answer the ?why  question in motivation. The ?how hard  question is answered by the effort that goes into making sure success follows, and the ?how long  question is answered by the duration of time that the goal is pursued. Prioritizing Amongst Errors As anyone learning a new language would tell, differentiating between right and wrong is not very apparent. A draft prepared by an ESL student may contain a variety of errors, and the educator needs to get priorities first, on what needs correction. The choice of vocabulary can be confusing, and sentence structures may be jumbled (Stacey, 2013). New teachers who have not engaged in teaching ESL before start with the wrong notion that it is their duty to correct everything that the student drafts. The right approach always looks at the draft from a positive perspective and acknowledging the rights done, points it out, and proceeds from there. With such an attitude, it becomes easier to say what is below expectations and point it out so that the students can correct it (Kim, 2014). An acknowledgment that errors are bound to happen is one way of building the confidence of learners. When the trust of pupils is established, the anxiety levels go down as they become aware that they can make errors, correct them, and move on. Looking for Patterns Successful teaching of ESL demands that the teachers become more pro-active on the manner through which they impart knowledge. Being aware of what goes around beyond the curricula is very helpful for any ESL teacher. Having a curious mind is especially ingenious in managing to create a working formula for easier teaching (Florez,The chances are that if a certain method were used by a learner from a particular geographical location and succeeded, a different student from the same background would need such remedy. Sometimes generalization helps in ESL tutoring and looking for patterns is a sure way of attaining success, however due care should be taken not to ostracize learners (Aponte, 2005). A concept is only useful if it can contribute to a better performance of a student, and tutors only need to look for patterns that achieve desired success. Not all students from varying cultural backgrounds embrace the new realities, and tutors are better off noting any patterns that arise from different learners. Learners that appear to resist integration into the new system need no pressure to perform, as a gradual shift in methodologies of imparting knowledge would work better. When the pressure eases with time, the small gains they have made motivate them to catch up with the rest. Teaching ESL in Florida Ensuring that ESL students acquire the language proficiency critical to mastering the skills necessary is one of the core mandates of the Florida Department of Education. The proficiency is currently tested through the Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) and a thorough review of the school districts English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and the No Child Left Behind act suites. A comprehensive data analysis and monitoring system that identifies the units that need the most attention according to the degree of risk is used to ensure parity of the disseminated knowledge. Such ensures that there are units that need on site monitoring, others are monitored remotely through reports while others self-monitor. Method Design For unraveling the prevalence of grammatical mistakes in essays written by ESL students in Florida Middle Schools, this paper proposes that an investigative study conducted to know the extent of the problem. The study would encompass a random selection of ESL students from Florida Middle Schools to write essays on given topics, others perform a random request of standing before their peers, and volunteer to tell them a brief story about themselves. Teachers, on the other hand, fill out a questionnaire to elaborate on questions touching on their challenges, competence and ways of overcoming them. For all the classes of Florida Middle School ESL students represented, the right sample for the survey should include twenty students for the essay, twenty for the oral presentation and, at least, ten teachers for the questionnaire. The selected students and teachers are to be from at least five different ESL training centers in Florida to represent a diversity of approaches. The wealth of ideas mined from these groups would be a proper representative sample of generating a bigger picture. Data collection and analysis The tools for this study as mentioned in the design are research questionnaires, essay examination, and oral representation. The research survey would touch on questions relating to the experience of the teacher, common problems encountered, ways devised of overcoming them and the feedback system to curriculum developers. The selected essay question originates from random ideas developed by the field researcher. The oral presentation would touch on the journey of the student towards seeking to enroll for ESL class. The learners should be encouraged to use creativity in their presentation and to use the allocated time effectively. Operational Def. of Variables Forty ESL students from Florida Middle Schools are to participate in the study selected from sixth to eighth grades chosen randomly from different schools to participate in the survey and any reaction to the presence of an investigation documented for final analysis. There would not be any pressure on the students to perform to a certain expectation and pupils would be required to perform to their levels of abilities. Participation strictly based on the selection of the field researcher and a greater emphasis urged on gender equity in the selection. For every class that produces a student for the survey, the researcher should ensure that its teacher participates in filling out the questionnaire. Partial filling of the questionnaire should be discouraged as it can lead to incomplete deductions, and the questionnaire should have a place where the ideas of the teacher s flow are uninhibited. This is especially so with the question that touches how they have been providing feedback, and by providing a detailed answer. After the random selection of participants, the field researchers would select the group to participate in the test essay and provide a conducive environment for its writing after proposing to them the subject to write on. The proposal is that participants should present variance meaning the research targets students from different locations, some field researchers would be required to alternate the processes. Another group would then select students to present the oral presentation and divide them into two groups, one to perform in front of fellow students and the event recorded by a presiding student while another would repeat the same in the presence of a teacher. This would be significant in determining the anxiety levels where teachers are present. The last part of the survey is giving out questionnaire to the teacher to fill out after the students finish with their tasks. Measurement For this thesis, we propose that the analysis of the different aspects of the survey conducted away at the researcher s office to ensure they would be reflective of the spontaneity of random selection. That is important in ensuring the objectivity of any conclusions derived from the survey. If established that teachers give the proper feedback on the competence of the learners under their tutelage, they should be motivated to continue doing so and if otherwise, a better approach adopted. Summary A proper analysis of the answers to the questionnaire would give curriculum developers a clearer idea of what they need to change and what should be enhanced to come up with a curriculum that is aligned to the needs of the learners and help educators. Discrepancies on ESL successes across various parts of the United States of America necessitate a study to get to the root of the problem and come up with solutions. This paper has highlighted some of the key issues that need to be relooked and a proposal that further research on the subject conducted to eliminate the errors prevalent in learners who study English as their second language particularly in Florida Middle Schools. References Bahrani, T. (2011). Technology as an Assessment Tool in Language Learning. International Journal Of English Linguistics, 1(2). http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/ijel.v1n2p295 Colomar, M. (2014). A classroom-based assessment method to test speaking skills in English for Specific Purposes. Language Learning In Higher Education, 4(1). http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/cercles-2014-0002 Drakakis-Smith, A., Day, G., & Davis, H. (2010). Inside Out: An English Dispersal into North-West Wales. Immigrants & Minorities, 28(1), 42-69. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02619281003611840 Florez, I. (2012). Examining the validity of the Arizona English Language Learners Assessment cut scores. Lang Policy, 11(1), 33-45. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10993-011-9225-4 Halimah, A. (2015). Teaching Translation of Poetry: A Collaborative Approach. ELLS, 5(1). http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/ells.v5n1p26 Huang, Q. (2012). Study on Correlation of Foreign Language Anxiety and English Reading Anxiety. TPLS, 2(7). http://dx.doi.org/10.4304/tpls.2.7.1520-1525 Huang, S., Eslami, Z., & Hu, R. (2010). The Relationship between Teacher and Peer Support and English-Language Learners Anxiety. English Language Teaching, 3(1). http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/elt.v3n1p32 Huang, Y. (2014). Self and Language Anxiety. ELLS, 4(2). http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/ells.v4n2p66 Jia, J. (2015). An Action Research on College English Teaching Aiming at Improving Students Intercultural Consciousness. ELLS, 5(1). http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/ells.v5n1p119 Jurkovic, V. (2010). Effect of Explicit Language Learning Strategy Instruction on Language-test and Self-assessment Scores. English Language Teaching, 3(1). http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/elt.v3n1p16 Kim, D., & Jang, S. (2014). Dialogic Practices in Using Podcasting and Blogging as Teaching Tools for Teachers Seeking ESOL Certificate. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 51(2), 205-232. http://dx.doi.org/10.2190/ec.51.2.d Larrotta, C. (2016). Book Review: Adult Learning in the Language Classroom. Adult Education Quarterly. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0741713615626901 Onovughe, O. (2012). Sociolinguistics Inputs and English as Second Language Classrooms. English Language Teaching, 5(8). http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/elt.v5n8p157 Snape, N., & Kupisch, T. (2010). Ultimate attainment of second language articles: A case study of an end state second language Turkish-English speaker. Second Language Research, 26(4), 527-548. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0267658310377102 Stacey, K., Harvey, S., & Richards, H. (2013). Teachers working with ESOL paraprofessionals in a secondary context: Examining supervision. Teaching and Teacher Education, 36, 55-67. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2013.07.002 TOSUNCUOGLU,. (2012). Usage of mother tongue in learning English. Educ. Res. Rev., 7(15). http://dx.doi.org/10.5897/err11.307 Veliyeva, M. (2016). Interference Phenomena in Mastering Foreign Languages and the Methods of Preventing Them. International Journal Of English Linguistics, 6(1), 165. http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/ijel.v6n1p165 Wu, R., Wu, R., & Le, V. (2014). Challenges of Adults in Learning English as a Second Language: Focus on Adult Education in China. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 5(5). http://dx.doi.org/10.4304/jltr.5.5.1132-1138 Xu, X. (2013). Empirical Study on the English Listening Learning Anxiety. TPLS, 3(8). http://dx.doi.org/10.4304/tpls.3.8.1375-1380 Yi, Q. (2012). Empirical Study of Formative Evaluation in Adult ESL Teaching. English Language Teaching, 5(2). http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/elt.v5n2p27 Appendix Annotated Bibliography Bahrani, T. (2011). Technology as an Assessment Tool in Language Learning. International Journal of English Linguistics IJEL, 1(2). The paper examines the employment of different technology-based tools such as computer, podcast, and chat for assessing language proficiency in EFL classrooms. It aims at illustrating several activities that teachers can use with the help of technology to measure and monitor their students achievements in language learning. Colomar, M. P. (2014). A classroom-based assessment method to test speaking skills in English for Specific Purposes. Language Learning in Higher Education, 4(1). The article presents and analyses a classroom-based assessment method to test students speaking skills in a variety of professional settings in tourism. An extended process that involved research and meetings with colleagues and students led to the development of the assessment method in question, which can be described as a multimodal communicative approach to testing, organized as continuous assessment, and fully related to the course syllabus. Drakakis-Smith, A., Day, G., & Davis, H. (2010). Inside Out: An English Dispersal into North-West Wales. Immigrants &Minorities, 28(1), 42-69. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02619281003611840 This article is based on an empirical baseline study undertaken in 2005 which examined the experience of the English who have moved and settled into north-west Wales. This essay explores the experiences of the English in Wales as England s influence over Wales becomes diluted, the role of leader and led reversed, and as the empire begins to


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