2012 WiDA Amplified Standards

2012 WiDA ELP Amplified Standards

The 2004 and 2007 WiDA ELP Standards were fairly groundbreaking in the social and academic realm of English Language Learning. The standards were created in order to assist both ESL and core content teachers in understanding the implications of English Language Learning in the classroom. The standards provide teachers (at least those in the 33 states who employ them) with a uniform method of measuring English Language Proficiency and offer a foundation on which instruction and assessment of English Language Learners can be built. All of this alone is fairly remarkable, yet in the 2012 Amplification of the standards, WIDA demonstrates that they have made some adjustments and added some components that render it even more useful and applicable than before!

There are various modifications and additions within the Amplification so I will name a few:

The first thing I noticed about the 2012 Amplification of the WiDA Standards is that they are not longer referred to as The English Language Proficiency Standards but rather the English Language Development Standards. Since language is continually developed, they changed the namesake to indicate as such.

Also, for the 2012 ELD standards, WiDA notes that they recognize that “learning though participation requires particular levels of cognitive demand”. As such, WiDA has added information regarding what cognitive functions are involved within a given strand of a standard. WiDA is now also using terminology from Bloom’s revised taxonomy, a widely recognized set of educator objectives. Unless I completely overlooked it, they did not do so for the 2007 standards. The addition of this cognitive function note will certainly inform and remind teachers that they can and should expect higher cognitive functioning from their students, even students with lower language proficiency.

The strands now also come equipped with example context for language use to assist teachers in creating lessons and assessments that will have the students using language in a meaningful way.

Looks as though the Performance Definitions have also been expanded into two categories, Receptive and Productive. Luckily I found a great little presentation on the WiDA website to help me understand these (here). Basically, receptive performance definitions can be used to indicate how ELLs are processing language in order to comprehend information, ideas or concepts in oral or written communication. Productive performance definitions can be used to indicate how ELLs are expressing information, ideas or concepts in either oral or written communication.

The 2012 Amplification of the ELDs now offers features of academic language within strands to assist students in communicating and learning within Sociocultural Contexts.

Also, grade levels are now featured in strands rather than grade level clusters.

In addition, the ELP level once known as beginning is now known as emerging

The Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards are used in many states to express the content expectations in the classroom. These common core standards have features that overlap with the WiDA standards in that they focus on oral language development, literacy across the content areas, attention to genre, text type, register, and language forms and conventions, use of instructional supports. So, The 2012 Amplification now contains connections to common core standards. This will be helpful in preparing ELLs for College where they will be expected to function proficiently in English in many areas.

There are also complementary strands (bonus!) provided within this amplification. There is one per grade level and they are meant to represent WiDA’s belief that language learning occurs throughout school day in formal and informal settings.

The complementary strands cover: The Language of Music and Performing Arts; The Language of the Humanities; The Language of the Visual Arts; The Language of health and Physical Education; The Language of Technology and Engineering.

All in all, the 2012 Amplification of the ELD standards provides even more fundamental and essential guidance for teachers of ELLs than its predecessor.   With such a manual, teachers of ELLs have the equipment to prepare and conduct meaningful and effective instruction.


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