Draft for RIDE Performance Standards Pre-Beginning and Beginning ESOL

[the question of intensity and duration needs to be addressed]

Learners in the categories listed below may need 12-15 hours per week of instruction to progress from one level to the next because of their literacy needs. Learners may need to remain at this level for 1-2 years.

working definitions

nonliterate: learners who have no reading and writing skills in any language, but who speak one or more languages

semiliterate: learners who have the equivalent of two to four years of formal education or possess minimal literacy skills in some language. These learners probably know the names of letters, can recognize some common words by sight, but usually can write only their names and addresses

literate in a non-Roman alphabet: learners who are literate in their own languages, but need to learn the Roman alphabet and the sound-symbol relationships of English (MELT)

The following draft suggests a composite of possible strengths and needs of ESOL literacy and/or beginning level learners:

beginning level ESOL learner profile - draft 27 january/2000 isserlis

It's impossible to define, reduce or otherwise simplify a beginning level ESOL learner. These factors need to be determined in order to begin to assess or predict the range of time needed for learners to complete the level as outlined in the standards draft below.

- previous education:

formal education? how many years? where? (English-speaking country, non-English speaking country?)

- literacy

You learn to read once. If the learner has no literacy in any language, there will be an expectation of additional time needed to learn to crack the code Literacy in a non-Roman language: the learner understands the notion of sound/symbol // symbol/ meaning correspondence, but needs now to learn new symbols

- dis/abilities

hearing, sight, movement learning disabilities developmental disabilities - mobility - motor skills (need for adaptive materials? -- causes: birth defects, trauma sustained since childhood, late onset mental illness

- direct instruction

[seat time] frequency [how many times weekly?] intensity [ how many hours?] duration [class start/end dates]

teaching/learning style match / mismatch teaching ability learning ability - innate ability, barriers and supports in place

ancillary issues

-- stressors or supports: - immigration status - marital status - living situation - economic situation - child care - transportation - support network -- community, family, social services - physical health - mental health

Access to needed other services // ability to obtain needed support and/or to learn what support is available

questions pending:

use of English language outside of school?

attention to explicit grammar points?

distinction between curriculum, evaluation, assessment and statement of standards

The standards listed below increase incrementally in difficulty down each column. Many learners in the beginning ESOL level may share aural/oral abilities, but literacy level learners, while able to speak and understand, may lack the ability to use print that beginning level students have. The standards here represent those skills needing mastery to enter into intermediate level ESOL.

In terms of reading and writing, prebeginning students are considered to be ESOL/literacy students; upon entry to the prebeginning level, print is not available to them as a learning tool. Upon completion of the prebeginning reading and writing standards, these learners will have access to print as a learning tool.

When a student is ready to leave your ESOL class, s/he should be able to demonstrate most of the following tasks at a level you consider satisfactory (SUNY Resource Guide and Learning Standards, p. 116)

Speaking Listening Reading Writing Employability Numeracy
give and be able to spell personal information (name, address, telephone #, social security #, place and date of birth, age, sex, and marital status)

say the names of all the letters of the alphabet

recognize consonant sounds at least 50% of the time

express basic needs using learned vocabulary

participate in basic social language

express lack of understanding

ask for repetition

ask simple yes/no questions

ask and respond to who/what/where/when/why questions

leave a voice-mail message

ask for help

be able to follow simple directions in learning environment

be able to recognize a question

differentiate between who/what/where/when/why questions

recognize own name spoken by a speaker different from learner's native language

be comfortable answering telephone and seek help when necessary

use the telephone to make an emergency call


recognize and say the letters of the alphabet

recognize the words: name, address, telephone #, social security #

recognize 50 common site words: i.e. simple nouns (especially home and school objects), numbers, colors, verb to be in simple present and past, subject pronouns

- recognize and understand digital time/ analog time

read own name

read calendar

read a simple bar graph

read supermarket fliers

read common signs (for school, road, work)

read a bill

identify upper and lower case letters

show comprehension of simple texts

beginning esol

- respond to written instructions

recognize letters, numbers, sight words, simple phrases

read maps of community and classroom [graphical literacy]


write out personal information (name, address, phone)

recognize word boundaries by use of spaces between words

fill out simple forms with assistance

write the letters of the alphabet when dictated

begin keyboarding skills

write very simple sentences based on previously learned vocabulary and structures

write a check or money order

address an envelope

write a brief letter or note

beginning ESOL

write using a computer/word processor as a tool

write a list

achieve 75% proficiency during dictation activities

demonstrate awareness of letter/sound relationships

write basic sight words

identify common entry-level jobs

read common warning or safety signs at work

state previous employment and own job skills in simple terms state current job status

print or sign name on time sheet

ask if a task was done correctly

ask supervisor or co-worker for help

respond to simple questions about work progress/performance

respond to simple basic safety warnings or simple oral warnings

give simple reasons for absence or lateness

follow simple instructions

handle very routine entry-level jobs that do not require oral communication and in which all tasks can be easily demonstrated

read a time sheet

identify / recognize postings on bulletin boards, manuals, safety signs, procedures

expectations, breaks, rules rights, awareness of US workplace culture, personnel policy,when it makes sense to challenge authority, what the consequences are

communication with co-workers

problem solving on the job

follow sequenced instructions

understand rights on the job

report problems

scanning with bar codes

clock in/out

match #s/words for orders

understand pay stub, hourly rates, deductions

recognize and say the numbers 1-20

use written numerals

write numbers 1-100 at 75% proficiency when dictated

read time on clock

read a simple bar graph

beginning computational skills

recognize and say the numbers 21-100 at 75% proficiency

recognize, reproduce and say prices and dollar amounts

Recognize andunderstand basic mathematical symbols, i.e. +, -, x, =,<, >, %

Hear and recognize differences in similar sounding numbers, e.g. 14:40

count aloud : 1 - 100, 1,000,

coins and currency : make change/understand when incorrect change is given and ask for correct change

Sources Consulted: SUNY Albany Resource Guide and Learning Standards, ESL Oral Assessment Test, Arizona Department of Education, original work completed by Susan Grislis and other colleagues in RI, and both former and revised MELT (Mainstream English Language Project).

this draft submitted by Terri Coustan and Denise DiMarzio 12/3/99, with additions from Janet Isserlis 12/23/99

revised 3/28/2000

to intermediate ESOL standards

to citizenship ESL standards

to basic literacy standards

to employability standards

to standards mainpage