Measuring success when English isn’t your native language

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Because of the power and international status of English, and because of real or perceived pressures to ‘assimilate’ persons from non-English speaking cultural backgrounds, educators in English-dominant countries are likely to have a primary focus on the academic achievement of learners based on monolingual (English) standards and benchmarks. ‘Success’ in educational contexts is likely to reflect the common sense view “the more English, as early as possible, the better the outcome”, which, while intuitively logical, is not supported by the best available research on the acquisition of English by K-12 English language learners. In fact, the research of language acquisition scholars strongly suggests that monolingually-normed approaches to pedagogy and assessment with linguistically diverse student populations in North America are detrimental to their academic achievement.


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