Maintaining and Setting Standards and Language Variation in the Asian Pacific Region
  • ISSN 0957-6851
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9838
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Australia is a multilingual multicultural country with an impressive record of educational provision for students from language other than English (LOTE) backgrounds. The recent widespread development of common standards and benchmarks in English language and literacy in schools can be seen as a valuable component of this provision. However, care needs to be taken to avoid projecting a false picture of linguistic homogeneity by ignoring variation between English-speaking background (ESB) and English as a Second Language (ESL) learner groups. This paper demonstrates how the recent introduction of national Literacy Benchmarks, unlike the earlier development of curriculum and standards frameworks, has dis-counted ESL achievement by failing to take sufficient account of learner variation. Problems have also occurred in balancing the conflicting motivations for benchmarking: assessment, accountability and education, which result in different “standards” for standard-setting being assumed by the various stakeholders. The paper concludes that real accountability and progress in ESL learning and teaching can only be shown effectively through the use of a complementary but distinctive set of standards or benchmarks for ESL learners at different stages of schooling.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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