Find your next job fast at the Jan. 28 Virtual Career Fair. Register now.
Education

Teaching Grammar to Oregon ELLs

By Mary Ann Zehr — March 19, 2008 1 min read

Over at the ELL Advocates blog, Stephen Krashen tried to poke a hole in claims reported in an article in the Oregonian that new methods for teaching English-language learners in Oregon resulted in higher test scores on the state’s English-language-proficiency test last school year than in the previous school year. Mr. Krashen is a professor emeritus of education at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, who frequently comments publicly on shortcomings he perceives in journalists’ reporting on ELLs.

Mr. Krashen read on the Oregon department of education Web site that the state had recently standardized its testing of English proficiency, so he suspected that ELLs’ test scores had improved because the school districts had changed their tests. But Betsy Hammond, the author of the March 6 Oregonian article, wrote him back that the claims had been based on a randomly selected group of ELLs who took the same test both years in a row.

Then Mr. Krashen responded by pointing out other reasons that he contends the claims are “unscientific.”

Ms. Hammond’s article explained that Oregon’s schools have started to teach ELLs grammar in an orderly way to ensure they don’t miss learning how verbs are conjugated, words are ordered, and sentences are constructed.

After reading the article, I wanted to know more about how instruction was delivered in the past and how any changes had been implemented (teachers don’t change their methods overnight). The Oregon educators’ explanation that a more deliberate focus on grammar raised test scores didn’t seem adequate.

The comments to Mr. Krashen’s blog entry further pique my interest about what’s going on with ELLs in Oregon. Doug Shivers, an ESL teacher in Oregon and a blogger, notes that many ESL teachers in Oregon are frustrated with ready-made lesson plans for teaching grammar.

Here’s another story idea to put on my list for exploration. Is something working in Oregon with ELLs that other educators in the country should learn about, or do educators there just hope that what they are doing is working?

A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Branding Matters. Learn From the Pros Why and How
Learn directly from the pros why K-12 branding and marketing matters, and how to do it effectively.
Content provided by EdWeek Top School Jobs
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
How to Make Learning More Interactive From Anywhere
Join experts from Samsung and Boxlight to learn how to make learning more interactive from anywhere.
Content provided by Samsung
Teaching Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table With Education Week: How Educators Can Respond to a Post-Truth Era
How do educators break through the noise of disinformation to teach lessons grounded in objective truth? Join to find out.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Human Resources Manager
Madison, Wisconsin
One City Schools
Elementary Teacher - Scholars Academy
Madison, Wisconsin
One City Schools
Special Education Teacher
Chicago, Illinois
JCFS Chicago
Communications Officer
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Hamilton County Department of Education

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: January 13, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read