In St. Croix, United States Virgin Islands (USVI), the growing population of English language learners (ELLs) are expected to meet the standards of the Smarter Balanced assessment and take the test during their first year of school on the island. However, meeting the accountability measures while acquiring academic language proficiency is overwhelming. The lack of language proficiency in English prevents ELLs from achieving academic success in high-stakes standardized testing. For this reason, it was necessary to study this phenomenon. This study addressed the problem of educational policies concerning strategies to help ELLs to demonstrate success on standardized assessments (Modiga, 2013). Results will give leaders and teachers a voice regarding ways to improve practices to assist ELLs on standardized assessments. The purpose of this qualitative study was to understand the struggle of ESL teachers in the USVI to meet not only the language needs of ELLs but also the requirements for them to pass the Smarter Balanced assessment in the St. Croix School District. Eight themes emerged from the data analysis: lack of professional development (PD), language support, commonly used assessments, language proficiency, cultural diversity, language background experience and expectations, district and school-wide initiatives, and lack of understanding how to meet the provisions of the constructivism theory or ESSA. The first recommendation is to extend the scope of the research to involve more mainstream middle school teachers across the USVI who also serve ELLs and must prepare them for the Smarter Balanced assessment. The second recommendation is to identify instructional practices that can best meet the needs of ELLs in content-area classes in the USVI. The third recommendation is to compare the perceptions of best practices of mainstream teachers from two districts in the USVI, one not making statistically significant gains with ELLs and the other making statistically substantial gains on the Smarter Balanced assessment. The last recommendation is to conduct a study in the USVI on the alignment of the core curriculum with English language proficiency and Common Core State Standards with mainstream teachers using ESL strategies to serve ELLs’ language needs to see if there is improvement on standardized test scores.
|Commitee:||Pucci, Thomas, Watkins, Julia|
|Department:||School of Education|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 80/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||English as a Second Language|
|Keywords:||ELL academic performance, English as a second language, English language learners, Language proficiency, Smarter balanced, Standardized assessment|
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