My CT only teaches writing. She has one type of formative assessment, in which the teacher conducts a one-on-one conference to see how the student is doing during the writing process. These conferences are obviously not modified at all since it is just a regular conversation. There is no time limit put on any of these conferences so it is possible that more time is devoted to the ELL’s or any child who may need more support. However, if there is extended time with these children, it is not long enough for I or the other students to notice. These conferences are usually quick and just as helpful for each individual student. There is also a summative assessment that my CT gives, which is the final writing piece. During the writing process, ELL students are often pulled out of class in the morning and given help with their assignment. In the afternoons, the ELL pushes in and assists them in the classroom with the same assignment. The ELL specialist works with the 4th grade students at different times every day. The writing has never been modified for the students. They may have accommodations like extra help, having a teacher write while they speak, or type while they write, but the content is never changed for the ELLs. The rubric and final expectations for ELL’s is the same as it is for all of the other students. The only difference is they may be given additional time or additional help. I think this is good practice for a few reasons. First, most ELLs in the 4th grade at my school are pretty high level ELL students with high English literacy skills. They do not need too much assistance, and they are ready for the rigor of being in a “normal” class. They are given accommodations such as extended time and help to ensure they are producing their best work, but they are still expected to perform at a 4th grade level. The ELLs in my classroom are motivated to work because of the high expectations put on them. They are not labeled as slow, in fact, many of the other students don’t even know which students are ELLs. Because ELL’s are not given an explicit or implicit SPED label, they are able to grow in the classroom and become the best students that they can be.
During standardized testing there is a different kind of support system for each ELL. Since the 4th grade ELL students are rather efficient English speakers, some of them are just given extra time, a few of them have headphones to have the math portion of standardized tests read to them. When talking with my CT and the ELL specialist, there was not talk about modifications. There was a very new English speaking student in a lower grade level who was receiving modifications on her standardized testing, but because she was new to the school and new to the U.S, they were not sure quite yet how she would be taking the standardized tests in February. When it comes to DIBBLEs testing, each ELL student does their testing with the ELL specialist instead of their homeroom teacher. This way, the ELL specialist can get a clearer understanding of what support is necessary each student in the classroom. DIBBLEs are done quite regularly, almost as a formative assessment (besides the fact that it is graded) in order for the homeroom teacher and the ELL specialist do discuss what the best way to support that individual child would be. While talking with the ELL specialist, it sounded like there was no difference between the DIBBLEs test that the ELLs take compared to the other students, other than who is scoring them. Having accommodations and few modifications for ELL students is another way in which the school is showing that they have high expectations for all of their students.