Bridging the Gap

July 22, 2017


To what extent are we positioning ELL students to become college and career ready? According to the Alliance for Effective Schools, “About 63 percent of the 46.8 million job openings created by 2018 will require workers with at least some college education....” A cursory scan of most state achievement scores (e.g., PARCC, Smarter Balance) shows a significant gap between the achievement levels of ELL and non-ELL students.


This post is not about pointing fingers as it is about reaffirming some fundamental truths about teaching and learning; namely,

  • All students regardless of their native language can achieve at extraordinary levels when instruction is personalized to their current learning profiles.

  • Increasing students’ capacity to delve into and solve complex problems in mathematics and ELA does not happen overnight, but must be addressed daily as part of every teacher’s rhythm of instruction.

  • Achieving language proficiency should not supersede opportunities to engage students in higher levels of cognitive complexity, but should complement one another.

I am reminded of the quote, “Whomever is doing the talking, is doing the learning,” when contemplating simple ways of elevating the expectations and performance levels of all children.  Applying the above truisms to daily instruction can help bridge the gap and give equal opportunities to all learners.


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