English Learner Stakeholder Input Group (ELSIG)

English Learner Stakeholder Input Group Meeting Summary

December 10, 2012

In attendance: Amani Ahrens, Mary Diaz, Donna Drescher, Scott Endo, Sara George, Patty Gillespie, Deborah Mitchell-Gerold, MyLou Moua, Kiersten Nicholson, Megan Reikowski, Kristina Robertson, Beth Stenglein, Ursula Lentz, Anh Tran, Elizabeth Watkins, Ruslana Westerlund

1. Quality Indicators

Quality Indicators for Schools Serving English Language Learners, originally published in February 2002, is being revised in order to support current Minnesota school improvement efforts. Ruslana gathered input on the revision of the content and possible structure for the report. Deborah, Kiersten, Kristina, Megan, MyLou, and Donna (review only) have volunteered to be part of the working group for this project. View the current document.

2. Updates

English Language Development (ELD) Standards Implementation Framework - The framework has been finalized and distributed via the English Learner (EL) Coordinator Newsletter. Margo Gottlieb will be adapting for use with the World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) Consortium.
Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives (AMAO) Criteria – The criteria has been approved by the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) Commissioner. We are awaiting final approval from the United States Department of Education prior to use and dissemination.
Disaggregation of Data by Language:

Suggestions/Ideas – more discreet data can be a good idea

• 1) the number of years in EL programs should be included and taken into account for equity; 2) a process should be developed to include ELD levels; 3) goal setting in districts and data should be more integrated to include number of years and growth rate; 4) MDE needs to supply categories for schools and districts to do their own disaggregation; 5) disaggregate by language group – subgroups under Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA) data; 6) EL designation should be kept longer than one year.

Concerns/Issues

• Concerns expressed by the group include: 1) small samples and subgroups can result in fluctuating data; 2) privacy issues and easy identification of students in small language groups beyond the top 12 languages; 3) overlap with other subgroups; 4) districts only look at sub-groups – laser focus; 5) the danger of scapegoating.

Summary: The option to have more data was considered useful all felt strongly that ELD levels and years in EL programs need to be included in the data. Concerns about privacy for small groups and district focus on certain groups was voiced.

3. Assessment and Accountability Working Group Recommendations

An Assessment and Accountability Working Group has been convened to review and make recommendations to the Governor related to Minnesota's Assessment and Accountability system. The purpose of this review is to provide recommendations to MDE for better testing and accountability. Topics being reviewed include:

• The Graduation-Required Assessments for Diploma (GRAD) and high school assessments.
• The impact of new assessments, including costs, development time, transition to new system, and feasibility.
• How any "newly" proposed system will impact others things such as teacher and principal accountability and Minnesota’s new accountability under the waiver.
• State and federal laws related to accountability.
• Specific review of high schools to compare current vs. new graduation requirements.

Donna Drescher, a member of the Assessment and Accountability Working Group, lead a discussion of the recommendations from the November 27, 2012 Draft report. It is important that we are aware of this work and its impact on English Learner Education. Information about the working group and draft report can be found at MDE > Welcome to MDE > Advisory > Assessment and Accountability Working Group.

4. Project Discussion Groups

• Attendees chose one of the four topics below to provide input.
EL Plan of Service – The English Learner Plan of Service desk review documents including rubric are being revised. The addition of footnotes explaining terminology is helpful. Other suggestions were to 1) include topic headings for each element of the rubric, 2) use similar timeframe as last year for review process, 3) reduce the number of reviews for more timely responses and interactions with districts.
Professional Development (PD) needs – Professional developed provided by WIDA consultants, the Minnesota ESL, Bilingual, and Migrant Conference, and EL Coordinator webinars were discussed.
EL Resources -
o EL Coordinator contact list on MDE-ORG: The MDE web site should provide a contact list for point persons for EL programs in schools and/or districts. The situation varies from district to district and each should decide on who is listed. The question of keeping the list current as people move in and out of positions needs to be considered. The needs are different depending on the size of the district and the school(s); e.g., charter schools. Consensus is that a point person for each district/school is important to have but that the district should decide who is listed as the point person on the MDE web site.
o ELL Expert List – In 2007, MDE compiled an “ELL Expert List” of volunteers (not endorsed) who wished to be on this list, to distribute to districts as a resource, upon request. ELSIG members thought that having a list of EL resource people useful. Suggestions were for a searchable database on the MDE web site and a revision of the categories to include EL Background and expanding the PD category with sub topics.
o EL Coordinator Newsletter – Members thought that it is a great resource. Having Google translate available on the MDE site for what is on the site for and documents would be helpful. Example given was the growing Karen population. While not perfect, it is not static and if the documents change, they will not need to be translated.

5. Assessment Update

Tracy Cerda and Cheryl Alcaya, MDE Research and Assessment, shared an update about EL participation in statewide assessments. ACCESS for ELLs trainings are scheduled for January 2013.

The next ELSIG meeting is scheduled for April 8, 2013.