• SchoolCenter Picture  GLOSSARY OF TERMS



    Academic Content Standards

    Standards developed by state departments of education to demonstrate what they expect of all students in the core content areas. According to NCLB, ELL students "will meet the same challenging state academic content and student academic achievement standards as all children are expected to meet." 


    Academic English

    Academic language that includes:  Semantic and syntactic features such as vocabulary items, sentence structure, transition markers, and cohesive ties. Language functions and tasks that are part of the classroom routine, such as defining terms, explaining historical significance, reading expository text, and preparing research reports.  Academic English is also defined as "the ability to read, write, and engage in substantive conversations about math, science, history, and other school subjects."    


    Affective Filter  

    A "wall" a learner puts up if his/her anxiety level is high.  The more comfortable s tudent's are in their school environment, the more ready they will be to learn.


    BICS (Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills)         

    Language skills needed for everyday personal and social communication.    Second language learners must have BICS in order to interact on the playground and in the classroom. It usually takes students from 1-3 years to completely develop this social language. BICS are not necessarily related to academic success.  


    CALP   (Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency)      

    Language associated with native language literacy and cognitive development. These are the language skills needed to undertake academic tasks in the mainstream classroom. It includes content-specific vocabulary. It may take students from 5 to 7 years to develop CALP skills. CALP developed in the first language contributes to the development of CALP in the second language.

    Civil Rights Act of 1964 The Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VI, states that "no person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin…be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."   


    Comprehensible Input  

    The spoken or written message is delivered at the learner's level of comprehension.


    Content Area Generally refers to academic subjects in school; e.g., math, science, English/language arts, reading, and social sciences. Language proficiency (English or other language) may affect these areas but is not included. Assessments of language proficiency differ from those of language arts.   


    Culture Shock   Culture shock is a normal stage in the acculturation process that all newcomers go through. Being in a strange pace and losing the power to communicate can disrupt a person's world view, self-identity, and systems of thinking, acting and feeling.  It mirrors the stages of grief.



    English language development (ELD) means instruction designed specifically for English language learners to develop their listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills in English. This type of instruction is also known as "English as a second language" (ESL), "teaching English to speakers of other languages" (TESOL), or "English for speakers of other languages" (ESOL).



    English language learners (ELLs) are students whose first language is not English and who are in the process of learning English.



    English as a second language (ESL) is an educational approach in which English language learners are instructed in the use of the English language. Their instruction is based on a special curriculum that typically involves little or no use of the native language, focuses on language and is usually taught during specific school periods. For the rest of the school day, students may be placed in mainstream classrooms, an immersion program, or a bilingual education program.


    KELPA (Kansas English Language Proficiency Exam)

    English Language Assessment mandatory for all ELL students in Kansas.  Test for adequate yearly progress.  It is a four-day exam with a section each day: reading, writing, listening and speaking.  It is usually given in April.


    ILDP (Individual Language Development Plan)    

    This is like an IEP.  It must be kept on file and updated every year.  It tracks IPT and KELPA scores for progress in language development and sometimes includes MAP scores and other assessments in content areas to assess CALP.  ESL teachers include broad language goals for the school year under the four domains of reading, writing, listening and speaking.      


    IPT (Idea Proficiency Test)    

    This is the test that the Blue Valley School District uses to assess the language level of students in order to place them in the correct program.  It is also given every spring to measure progress in language development.  Scores are tracked on students' ILDPs and are considered when deciding to exit students from the ESOL program.


    Language Proficiency

    To be proficient in a second language means to effectively communicate or understand thoughts or ideas through the language's grammatical system and its vocabulary, using its sounds or written symbols. Language proficiency is composed of oral (listening and speaking) and written (reading and writing) components as well as academic and non-academic language.


      Lau vs. Nichols (1974)

    "…equality of educational opportunity is not achieved by merely providing all students with the same facilities, textbooks, teachers and curriculum..."


    LEP (Limited English Proficient)


    NES (Non-English Speaker)   


    Sheltered English

    An instructional approach used to make academic instruction in English understandable to English language learners to help them acquire proficiency in English while achieving in content areas. Sheltered English instruction differs from ESL in that English is not taught as a language with a focus on learning the language. Rather, content knowledge and skills are the goals. In the sheltered classroom, teachers use simplified language, physical activities, visual aids, and the environment to teach vocabulary for concept development in mathematics, science, social studies and other subjects.  (Similar to SDAIE- Specially Designed Academic Instruction in English and SIOP- Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol)


    Silent Period

    The "silent period" is a varying period of time during which a newcomer is unwilling to speak in the second language, especially outside of the ESL classroom with native English speakers.  This stage could last for as long as one year. 


    Structured Immersion

    In this program, language minority students receive all of their subject matter instruction in their second language. The teacher uses a simplified form of the second language. Students may use their native language in class; however, the teacher uses only the second language.  The goal is to help minority language students acquire proficiency in English while achieving in content areas.  (See also SDAIE, Sheltered English.)