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Investigation into GCSE English exam results in Wales
BBC News
United Kingdom: An investigation has been launched over "unexpectedly low" grades for new GCSE English language exams sat in January. Education Minister Huw Lewis said he wanted his officials to look into it as a "matter of urgency". The changes to the exam were made following a row over GCSE English results in 2012 which led to thousands of papers being regraded. The Welsh government plans the new courses in English, Welsh, double maths and the Welsh baccalaureate next year.
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English language learners and California's NCLB testing waiver
Education Week
As Michele McNeil just reported over at Politics K-12, California has gotten the green light from the U.S. Department of Education officials to scrap its state testing program in the coming weeks and give Smarter Balanced field tests instead. The precise details in the agreement between California and the feds aren't all out in the open just yet, but we do know that the Smarter Balanced field tests aren't really designed to produce the student-outcome data that can be used for holding schools accountable for performance.
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Looking to share your expertise?
TESOL via MultiBriefs
In an effort to enhance the overall content of English Language Bulletin, we'd like to include peer-written articles in future editions. As a member of TESOL, your knowledge and experience in the industry can be of great help to your fellow members. And we're hoping you'll share this expertise with your peers through well-written commentary. Because of the digital format, there's no word or graphical limit, and our group of talented editors can help with final edits. If you're interested in participating, please contact Ronnie Richard to discuss logistics.
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Oregon's ESL Awareness Week coincides with TESOL 2014
TESOL
Oregon declares 24-29 March 2014 English as a Second Language Awareness Week. Read the Proclamation. Join TESOL in Portland, Oregon, 26-29 March, to help raise awareness at the TESOL 2014 International Convention & English Language Expo.
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TESOL responds to FY2015 federal budget proposal
TESOL
TESOL International Association shares President Barack Obama's belief that education offers a path to opportunity and success in the United States and is pleased to see a requested increase in discretionary spending for education from the previous fiscal year.
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English language learners and California's NCLB testing waiver
Education Week
As Michele McNeil just reported over at Politics K-12, California has gotten the green light from the U.S. Department of Education officials to scrap its state testing program in the coming weeks and give Smarter Balanced field tests instead.

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Why Chinese schools must push English more than ever
WorldCrunch
China: After months of public debate, China's Education Ministry has finally decided that the college entrance exam will no longer include the subject of English. Instead, students will take several English tests spread over the course of the school year.

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What it takes (and means) to learn English as an adult
NPR
Ana Perez never made it to high school. Her education ended after the sixth grade, when war broke out in her native El Salvador. She says she's "desperate" to learn English, but she gets nervous trying to speak it.

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What does Obama's budget say about education?
The Atlantic
President Barack Obama released a relatively unambitious, largely partisan proposal for funding the federal government for fiscal year 2015, which begins on Oct. 1. In recent years, the president's budget request has included proposals that have driven successful education policy reforms, including a debate and new funding for early education programs and reforms to student loan interest rates. This year's budget request, though, has been widely disparaged as dead on arrival.
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House approves plan to buy software for English language learners in Arizona
The Associated Press via The Republic
The Arizona House has approved a plan to spend millions on a software program schools will use to teach children who don't speak English as their primary language. Republican Rep. Rick Gray's proposal passed on a 34-24 vote. It requires the state to take bids and have the system in place by next year. Gray and others backing House Bill 2485 say they were impressed by Utah's use of similar software for their English language learners.
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11 key questions on standardized testing for Congress to answer
The Washington Post (commentary)
The nonprofit Network for Public Education, a coalition of education organizations fighting the privatization of public schools, has asked key congressional committees to hold formal hearings on the overuse of high-stakes standardized tests as a result of federal and state laws. The advocacy group was founded by activists including education historian Diane Ravitch, who has become the leader of a national movement opposing corporate-inspired school reform in which student standardized test scores have become the chief metric for evaluating students, educators and schools.
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With testing moratorium, LAUSD crafts its own for ELL shift
LA School Report
With a year-long state moratorium on standardized testing, LAUSD is crafting its own assessment to determine if English learning students are ready for an English-only curriculum. The new tests will look a lot like the tests they replace, said Hilda Maldonado, director of the LAUSD Multilingual and Multicultural department. The district had initially sought to purchase the old CST tests independently but found the nearly half-million dollar price tag too expensive for the 40,000 tests needed for ELL students this year.
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Language is better learned in 'casual study'
Ecns.cn
China: International scholars at a conference held in Shanghai on the science of learning suggest an easier, more active way for children to learn a second language than traditional rote memorization in a classroom. The answer lies in informal learning environments where students not only connect with real life but connect with it in more than one language. English courses in China have long been criticized for what has been characterized as their dried-up teaching methods and absence of practical application.
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Students gather to solve problems in Maine's school system
Bangor Daily News
The lack of funding for public schools, the cost of higher education and a dysfunctional program for English language learners were some of the problems more than 50 students, representing 13 schools from Dexter to Scarborough, tackled Saturday at the Portland Public Library. The event consisted of student-led presentations and discussions about how to improve Maine's education system. It was sponsored by Seeds of Peace, a program that attempts to alleviate intercommunal tensions in Maine by bringing together immigrant, refugee and American-born students from high schools across the state for a two-week-long summer camp and other events throughout the year.
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Helping English learners
The Storm Lake Times
Storm Lake could get a big boost from an effort by the Iowa Senate to extend extra funding to school districts trying to teach immigrants English. A bill out of the Education Committee would extend the number of years districts receive extra funding from five years to seven years. That's about how long it takes with hard work and remedial instruction to learn English well enough to excel in other subject areas.
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Schools get state aid for English skills, career help
The Boston Globe
Ten urban school districts in the region will have new resources to help students master the English language and learn about future career options through new state funding awards. Gov. Deval Patrick recently announced more than $3 million in awards through an initiative to help close achievement gaps affecting children in the state's 26 Gateway Cities who are living in poverty, or who are of color, disabled, or from families whose first language is not English.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    English language learners and academic language (Edutopia)
Make English the medium of instruction (The Star)
Helping foreign students thrive on US campuses (The New York Times)
Teaching evaluation systems — Making education more effective (By: Archita Datta Majumdar)
Pupils with English as a second language 'outperform native speakers' (The Telegraph)

Don't be left behind. Click here to see what else you missed.




Graduates to hone English language skills
Arab News
Saudi Arabia: The English language has achieved global significance for communication in all types of business and trade and Saudi Arabia is no exception. Accordingly, the Technical and Vocational Training Council launched an intensive English language program over a period of 21 weeks where graduates of the institute will be taught English by native speakers. A meeting was also organized for the graduate students of both genders under the slogan, "Meet the moderators of English language programs" at the institute's headquarters.
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Reading, writing and speaking English go better with tea at St. Paul's Skyline Tower
Twin Cities Daily Planet
It is 10:30 a.m. on a Thursday morning and the eleven adult students in the Level 1 and 2 adult English class at Skyline Tower are making tea. Muhubo, seated near the front of the class and wearing wire-rimmed glasses, shakes back the sleeves of her bright orange hijab to unwrap a yellow Lipton tea bag. Udbi, seated next to her, stirs one, two, three spoonfuls of sugar into her cup of hot brew. As other students filter back into the classroom after their break, they stop by the tray of ceramic mugs before taking their seats.
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Let learning emerge
Language Magazine (commentary)
Complexity theory deals with complex, dynamic and nonlinear systems. When I first encountered CT some 20 years ago, it was not in the context of language. However, I couldn't think of many things that were more complex, dynamic and nonlinear than language (Larsen-Freeman, 1997). And it soon became evident to me that CT had the potential to teach us many lessons useful in language teaching and learning. It is important to note that in CT "complex," dynamic" and "nonlinear" have different meanings from what one normally thinks of. Let me start with "complex."
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The TESOL English Language Bulletin is presented as a service to members of TESOL International Association and other English language teaching professionals. For information about TESOL member benefits, visit www.tesol.org or contact us at membership@tesol.org.

TESOL English Language Bulletin is a digest of the most important news selected for TESOL International Association from thousands of sources by the editors of MultiBriefs, an independent organization that also manages and sells advertising. TESOL International Association does not endorse any of the advertised products and services. Opinions expressed in the articles are those of the author and not of TESOL.

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