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How You Can Address New Jersey ESSA Requirements for ELLs

How You Can Address New Jersey ESSA Requirements for ELLs

With the release of the New Jersey ESSA plan, I’ve had several very rewarding conversations around digital learning outcomes for English language learners (ELLs) in the state of New Jersey. The variety of learning paths for this specific population of learners requires a matched variety of instructional models and digital resources that should be customized to your evolving needs. Here at Edmentum, we believe that multiple solutions can cover multiple needs—from newcomer to mainstreamed learners—and we are excited to be able to provide programs that support all instructional practices. Let’s review some of the key details around how English language learners (ELLs) are supported in New Jersey.

What are the ELL goals in New Jersey?

The New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) proposed a model to identify English Learner Proficiency (ELP) growth targets for English learners where equal interval increases will occur each year so that all English learners meet proficiency within five years of entering a local education agency (LEA). As stated in the New Jersey ESSA plan, the WIDA ACCESS 2.0 for ELLs® exam will be used to measure this growth over time.

ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 is a secure, large-scale English-language proficiency assessment administered to kindergarten through 12th grade students who have been identified as ELLs. It is given annually in WIDA Consortium member states to monitor students' progress in acquiring academic English. ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 is aligned with the upcoming WIDA English Language Development Standards, and it assesses each of the four language domains of listening, speaking, reading, and writing.

The number of years for students to achieve proficiency varies based on the student’s starting level of proficiency. English learners starting at ELP Level 1 in the initial year are expected to move to Level 2 in the second year, Level 3 in the third year, and Level 4 in the fourth year; whereas students starting at ELP Level 4 at the outset are expected to become English-language proficient in the second year.

The following table is from the New Jersey ESSA plan and details ELL expectations in New Jersey.

In New Jersey’s ESSA plan, the state has set a goal that, by 2023, 86% of New Jersey English learners in each school will make expected annual progress toward attaining English-language proficiency. Each school’s interim targets between the 2017–18 and 2022–23 school years toward this goal will be based on the school’s 2017–18 baseline growth data.

The NJDOE notes that the goal of one percent of growth per year from 2018 to 2023 is ambitious but also achievable. The NJDOE, along with stakeholders, will evaluate student performance, demographic changes, and other factors, such as updated assessment instruments, at the conclusion of the five-year period to determine whether to sustain its existing growth targets or set new ones. The NJDOE is committed to revisiting growth targets after 2023 because of the state’s dynamic English learner population.

What instructional programming is available to meet ELL needs?

Edmentum offers three robust programs that have all undergone rigorous review via the WIDA PRIME V2 Correlation process—from the same organization that created the ACCESS 2.0 exam. Exact Path, ESL ReadingSmart, Reading Eggs and Reading Eggspress have been awarded WIDA PRIME V2 Correlations, indicating the programs’ abilities to meet ELL students’ listening, speaking, reading, and writing needs.

Reading Eggs and Reading Eggspress

Edmentum’s dynamic 2-in-1 literacy solution, Reading Eggs and Reading Eggspress, helps students in  pre-K to 6th grade crack the code on reading in a rich, online world that inspires learning. Beginning at an absolute emergent level, lessons and activities support students’ language development as they become more confident readers. Carefully guided and structured lessons are supported with instructional modeling, audio supports, and engaging animations.

ESL ReadingSmart

ESL ReadingSmart promotes English-language acquisition and academic success for grade 4 to adult readers. Learning modules support all four modalities of language learning: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Rich lessons are delivered that integrate vocabulary, reading comprehension, grammar activities, and writing opportunities. Content is offered for newcomers, beginners, intermediates, early advanced, and advanced ELLs.

Exact Path

Exact Path includes assessment-driven math, reading, and language arts instruction for K–8 students that is paced to your student needs and aligned to your instruction goals. ELLs can successfully navigate through Exact Path independently by engaging in scaffolded instruction and practice—gaining exposure to and familiarity with academic vocabulary and developing individual writing skills. Instruction within a student’s individual learning path is designed to develop vocabulary and language skills and is supported with audio, models, and visual supports to help differentiate content for all targeted proficiency levels by providing curriculum for K–12 learners. Interested in seeing success in action? Check out Isaac School District’s story.

How we partner to bring NJ ELL programs to life

The Edmentum education consulting team is made up of former educators and education technology experts experienced in isolating specific needs, providing personalized support, and boosting program adoption. We bring knowledge, experience, and passion for education to support your program’s success. We provide regular check-ins with an education consultant to allow you and your team to collaborate to assess progress toward goals and to strategize solutions to any obstacles that may come up along the way.

Looking for online programs to help your school or district improve outcomes for all students? Check out Edmentum's suite of K–12 evidence-based assessments and digital curriculum, and see why over 8,000 districts in the nation partner with us.