How Common Core Standards Affect English Language Learners

How Do the Common Core Standards Affect English Language Learners? 4th in a series

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) were created to help our students compete globally against students around the world. The CCSS outlines skill mastery in precise detail to ensure that students are either college- or career-ready when they graduate from high school, including those students who are non-native English speakers. There are hundreds of thousands of English Language Learners (ELL) in our public schools. How does the CCSS address the unique challenges of this student population?

“The process of audio modeling is especially important for non-native English speakers”

The Common Core standards clearly state that English Language Learners are to be held to the same standards as native English speakers. This requirement affirms the work of many excellent K-12 ELL programs, including the one led by Hillary Wolfe, learning specialist at Northview High School in Covina, California. With the help of Califone and Recorded Books LLC, Wolfe and her team put together a program that helped 789 students improve their language skills in one school year.

Researchers have found that the use of technology engages students more effectively in language learning activities. At Northview, Wolfe chose the Califone Personal CD Player for one-on-one learning and the Learning Center for larger groups to listen to audio books. Both the CD player and the Learning Center with its four stereo headphones and miniature jackbox have individual volume controls. This is particularly important with students learning a new language. They can listen repeatedly until they have mastered the readings.

This process of audio modeling is especially important for non-native English speakers to help meet the Common Core standards. Northview High School’s student population is primarily Hispanic and the combination of accessible technology and audio books helped students make great strides in their acquisition of English.

Wolfe reported, “Listening to a book exposes students whose first language is something other than English to an academic language they wouldn’t otherwise hear from their peers.”

“Most importantly [during this program], we have seen… an average point score increase of 14.6 per student improvement…for all of our intervention program participants,” Wolfe concluded.

Read the previous installment or click to read from the beginning of the series.


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