California Model Program Standards For ESL

The CDE publication, California Model Program Standards: ESL, provides programmatic, instructional, and assessment standards for adult ESL programs. As a teacher, you will be most interested in the instructional and assessment standards. Below are lists of the instructional standards and selected assessment standards. These provide general guidelines for teaching ESL and for evaluating your students.

Instructional Standards

  1. Instructional activities integrate the four language skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) to emphasize the holistic nature of language.
  2. Language tasks in the classroom consist of meaningful interchanges that enhance students' communicative competence.
  3. Instructional activities focus on the acquisition of communication skills necessary for students to function in real-life situations.
  4. Instruction focuses on the development of the receptive skills (listening and reading) before the development of the productive skills (speaking and writing).
  5. A variety of grouping strategies (whole-group, small-group, pair work, individual work) are used in the classroom to facilitate student-centered instruction.
  6. Instructional activities are varied in order to address the different learning styles (aural, oral, visual, kinesthetic) of the students.
  7. Instructional activities integrate language and culture so that students learn about the U.S. culture in terms of significant and subtle characteristics that compare and contrast with those of their own cultures.
  8. Learning activities develop the language necessary for students to access higher level thought processes (analysis, synthesis, and evaluation).
  9. Instructional activities require students to take active roles in the learning process, transferring critical thinking to real problem-solving situations in their everyday lives.

Excerpted from Model Standards for Adult Education Programs: ESL, California Department of Education, 1992.


Selected Standards for Learner Assessment

  1. Students' placements in ESL courses are determined by a variety of assessments.
  2. Instructors monitor students' progress on a continuing basis, assessing students on attainment of objectives identified in the course outline through use of a variety of informal tests (applied performance procedures, observation, simulations) paper and pencil exams, and standardized tests.
  3. Assessments for moving from one level to another measure both general language proficiency and master of specific instructional content.

Excerpted from Model Standards for Adult Education Programs: ESL, California Department of Education, 1992.


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