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Eric.ed.gov – Perspectives from Latin America: International Lessons for U.S. English Language Learners

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The purpose of the study was to examine four questions concerning English Language Learners (ELLs). First, does English Language Learner status impact math scores? Second, does immigrant status favorably contribute to math achievement? Third, what math achievement is possible in other countries where there is multilingualism or high immigrant populations? Fourth, and most specifically, how can international exams help us address the issue of Latin American ELLs in Texas, who make up almost 15 percent of students? This article used data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) of 2008, the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) of 2006, the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) of 2003, and the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) to examine mathematics achievement of English Language Learners in Texas based on country of origin. The international comparisons implied three conclusions: economic inequity hurts math achievement, class size should decrease, and teacher pay should increase. However, these factors held true to some degree for all U.S. students as well. Three possibilities to explain the data were further examined: poverty, ethnicity, and language. It was found that a more significant barrier to math success than poverty, ethnicity, or language was the interaction of ethnicity and language ability. Other countries which have immigrant populations, such as Canada and Singapore, have avoided achievement gaps, which indicates that math success with immigrants is possible. Strategies suggested to address these gaps in learning in the U.S. include differentiated instruction, additional instruction time, support for each student, and high expectations.

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Troels Gannerup Christensen

Jeg er ansat som adjunkt hos Læreruddannelsen i Jelling, hvor jeg underviser i matematik, specialiseringsmodulet teknologiforståelse, praktik m.m. Jeg har tidligere været ansat som pædagogisk konsulent i matematik og tysk hos UCL ved Center for Undervisningsmidler (CFU) i Vejle og lærer i udskolingen (7.-9. klasse) på Lyshøjskolen i Kolding. Jeg er ejer af og driver bl.a. hjemmesiderne www.lærklokken.dk og www.iundervisning.dk, ggbkursus.dk og er tidligere fagredaktør på matematik på emu.dk. Jeg går ind for, at læring skal være let tilgængelig og i størst mulig omfang gratis at benytte.

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