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Archived Content from Conference Held in May 2003 

Creating Teacher Community:
Third International Conference on Language Teacher Education


Summary of Theme III Plenary Presentation:
"High Stakes Testing and ELLs - What support is needed to survive and succeed?"

Lily Wong Fillmore, University of California - Berkeley, May 31, 2003

In this presentation, I consider the problem of the high stakes tests that are being required of all students at the state and federal level. Under NCLB, there are serious consequences for students, their teachers, and schools, alike if the students do not perform adequately. All students are required to take these tests, including English language learners. The question is this: what kind of preparation do teachers need to provide students the instructional support needed to deal with the English language demands of high stakes tests and academic learning in general? I will argue that all teachers must be prepared to deal, not only with language learning, but language in learning. I will also consider the role that language teachers can play in helping colleagues learn more about how language figures in learning.



Lily Wong Fillmore
Professor, Department of Language and Literacy, Society, and Culture,
University of California-Berkeley

Lily Wong Fillmore is the Jerome A. Hutto Professor of Education, at the University of California - Berkeley. Much of her research has focused on issues related to the education of language minority students in American schools. Her professional specializations are second language learning and teaching, the education of language minority students, and the socialization of children for learning across cultures. Over the past thirty years, she has conducted studies of second language learners in school settings. Her most recent study is of the language resources of Alaskan Native children in several Yup’ik villages along the Yukon River. She is currently engaged in studies of the academic language demands of high stakes tests such as California’s High School Exit Examination and the SAT-9, and considerations of what kind of instructional support is needed by English language learners and speakers of English dialects (e.g., African-American English, Alaskan Village English, Chicano English, etc.) to deal successfully with such tests and other uses of academic language. Another area of work that has engaged Fillmore in the past decade is the revitalization of indigenous languages in the Southwest. She has been working with leaders in several pueblos in New Mexico in support of language programs for the teaching of heritage languages to the children in those communities. Her recent publications include "What Teachers Need to Know About Language" (with C. Snow); "Language in Education"; and "The Loss of Family Languages: Should Educators Be Concerned?" She recently received an award from the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports in recognition of her work promoting the learning and use of Spanish by Spanish speaking children in the United States.


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