Designing fair and inclusive tests for non-native speakers

Roughly 20 percent of U.S. residents, which is approximately 67.3 million people (equal to the population of France), speak a language other than English at home, according to the Center for Immigration Studies. When it comes to taking tests not in their first language, these groups can be at a notable disadvantage – especially for tests that influence a test-takers’ future. 

Language is a significant barrier to fair and inclusive testing, particularly if language fluency is not relevant to the skill being measured by the test. This is why designing fair and inclusive tests for non-native speakers is a key component of equitable testing.

Data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development shows that migrants, on average, get significantly lower literacy and numeracy test scores than native speakers. About half of it relates to the language of the test, meaning that if the migrants were tested in their own language, about half the difference would disappear.…Read More

More than 200,000 Students and Educators Across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Use Lexia Learning’s Programs to Boost Literacy Rates

BOSTON – During the 2021-22 school year, Lexia® Learning, a Cambium Learning® Group company, supported over 200,000 students and teachers throughout Massachusetts with instructional and professional learning programs. Hundreds of schools, ranging from Boston Public to the small coastal town of Ipswich and the diverse city of Brockton, used Lexia’s literacy offerings to help learners read and speak with confidence.

More than 166,600 students across 939 schools used Lexia® Core5® Reading (Core5) to drive progress in their literacy learning during the school year. Core5 provides students in prekindergarten through fifth grade with explicit, systematic instruction through personalized learning paths in six areas of reading. Progress reports revealed significant results. Among students meeting usage targets, the percentage working on skills two or more grades below their grade level was reduced from 18% to 4%. The percentage working on or above grade level increased from 48% to 87%.

Massachusetts educators also used Lexia products to expand their teaching skills. More than 1,500 teachers, literacy coaches, and administrators participated in professional learning sessions provided by the Lexia LETRS ® (Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling) suite of programs. Lexia LETRS provides educators with deep knowledge and develops their expertise in literacy and language instruction based on the science of reading. Almost all the respondents (94%) in Lexia’s feedback survey said that the programs enhanced their ability to use research-based practices. More importantly, 95% said they’d be able to apply the skills and concepts they’d learned.…Read More

Why teach digital writing to students in 2022?

The internet has changed writing forever.

Have you ever thought of your students alongside Hemingway, Shakespeare, and other well-known writers? They are actually: All their messages, blogs, and social media posts go online today, together with novels, poems, or stories of professional writers.

Now they write more than speak. Online communication calls the shots, and Gen Z doesn’t perceive informative writing as we did 20 or 30 years ago.…Read More

3 steps to creating classroom equity

Writing about equity is always a bit awkward for me. I am extremely white, extremely male, solidly middle class, and I have not had the same experience with some of these issues that other people have. It makes for a gigantic elephant in the classroom, so to speak. Yet, student equity is still something I care very much about, and I believe that many other educators feel the same way.     

Regardless of who you are and what your life experiences have been like, the issue of equity is a critical one to help all students grow and thrive. To better promote equity for our students, we need to understand who they are: how they see themselves, how they see the world, and how the world sees them. This is not simple and involves listening to our students and how they frame their own stories.

Small, bold steps…Read More

Lexia Learning Launches Customer Advisory Board to Deepen Educator Insights, Relationships, and Collaboration

BOSTON (Aug. 23, 2021) – Lexia® Learning, a Cambium Learning® Group company, today announced the formation of its customer advisory board, a group of key customers who will support the company’s goal of helping more learners read, write, and speak with confidence.

“It is extremely important to find more ways to foster meaningful conversations with customers so we can better understand their priorities and learn how we can directly address their needs,” said Lexia Learning President, Nick Gaehde. “We now have support from a group of outstanding educators who will help determine how we can best serve present and future customers and enable us to build stronger, deeper relationships with our customer base.”

The Customer Advisory Board consists of school district leadership from across the United States:…Read More

Lexia Names Kerri A. Larkin as Senior Education Advisor, Education Partnership

BOSTON (May 11, 2021) – Lexia Learning, a Cambium Learning® Group company, today announced the appointment of Kerri A. Larkin to the position of Senior Education Advisor, Education Partnerships, effective immediately. Larkin will serve as a thought partner and advisor for school districts across the country as they design and scale specialized academic programs based on student strength and need. She will also serve as an advisor for Lexia team members.

“The addition of such a strong special education leader to our team is part of Lexia’s ongoing commitment to support the needs of school districts striving to help every student to read, write and speak confidently and proficiently,” said Lexia President Nick Gaehde. “Kerri has demonstrated a clear vision for individual and team development, program execution, strategic planning and student-centered outcomes. Her insights will be invaluable to our company and our customers.”

Larkin comes to Lexia from the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) where she served as Senior Deputy Chief of Specialized Instruction for five years. During her tenure, she led the implementation, facilitation and monitoring of special education services for students from age 3 through 22.  As a leader in a large urban district, Larkin and her team leveraged DCPS and national data to illuminate the urgency of institutionalized racism within the special education system in order to dramatically decrease its impact on children with IEPs and their families.…Read More

Renaissance Launches Major Updates to Star Spanish Assessments

Renaissance, the global leader in pre-K–12 education technology, has enhanced Star Spanish, its assessment platform for students who speak, or are learning to speak, Spanish, with new reports and the first authentic K–12 learning progression for Spanish available in the country.

Star Assessments are available in both English and Spanish in order to give educators insight into the abilities, skills, and progress of emergent bilinguals, dual-language learners, and immersion students.

“We’re so excited to be able to offer educators the tools they need to uncover student understanding and track learning progress for students who speak Spanish,” said Doris Chávez-Linville, Director of English Learner Innovations at Renaissance. “Educators are experts at removing barriers, and we’re thrilled to help them take an asset-based approach to bilingualism, where the focus is on what students know and can do, and how educators can build on this.”…Read More

The changing role of literacy today, part 2

We know we must teach children to read proficiently, yet the age-old challenge of getting a child to read on grade level still persists. Fortunately, science and technology are providing a roadmap.

Science tells us that when we are born, we house all of the tools to learn to speak. On the other hand, we must learn the skill of reading. There is no corresponding “reading center” to the language center in our brains. Instead, every child must go through the meticulous task of learning to read; through the amazing adaptive abilities of the brain we can acquire a skill that was invented only a few thousand years ago.

According to Professor Maryanne Wolf, John DiBiaggio professor of citizenship and public service, director of the Center for Reading and Language Research, and professor in the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development at Tufts University, “It took our species roughly 2,000 years to make the cognitive breakthroughs necessary to learn to read with an alphabet … our children have to reach those same insights about print in roughly 2,000 days.” Those 2,000 days are roughly from birth to about first grade—in other words, at a fairly fast pace.…Read More

Text, tweet, email, call—what do parents want in school communications?

When it comes to school communications, parents today want more information from their children’s teachers and schools, but they also want that information to be timely, targeted, and personalized to their children or their interest areas.

The latest data from Speak Up Research Project gives insights on school-to-home communications. In “Text, Twitter, Email, Call—What Do Parents Say About School Communications?” Dr. Julie Evans, chief executive officer of Project Tomorrow, shared these insights from parents, educators, and administrators, and discussed takeaways from the research.

Currently: How Most Parents Receive Information…Read More

Report warns a decline in language learning could spell bad news for U.S.

A diminishing share of United States residents speak languages other than English–a trend that could have important consequences for business, international affairs, and intellectual exchange, according to a new report from American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

The Academy’s new report, The State of Languages in the U.S.: A Statistical Portrait, summarizes the nation’s current language capacity, focusing on the U.S. education system. A joint venture of the Academy’s Commission on Language Learning and Humanities Indicators, the report draws on the most recent national, state, and local data sources available to draw a more complete picture of language use in the nation.

“This very important work is ongoing and we look forward to the Commission’s final report and recommendations that will be available in February [2017],” said Jonathan F. Fanton, president of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.…Read More