Personalized Learning

Report: Best Practices for ELL Students in Personalized Environments

Report: Best Practices for ELL Students in Personalized Environments 

The International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) has released a new report focused on trends and practices in personalized and competency-based learning for English language learners (ELL).

The report, "Next Generation Learning Models for English Language Learners: Promising Practices and Considerations for Teaching and Learning," offers six case studies of schools that have created personalized and competency-based environments for ELL students and outlines promising practices for designing learning environments for ELL students.

Schools covered in the case stories include:

  • International High School at Langley Park, which "takes a holistic approach to student learning, providing students with learning goals beyond English language proficiency to include academic content, literacy and social-emotional learning," according to the report;
  • Distinctive Schools, which uses a bilingual rotation model;
  • UCLA Project Exc-EL at Ossining High School, which uses dynamic language learning progressions and focuses on data-driven instruction, personalized structures and supports and inclusion of community partners;
  • Lindsay High School, where educators use a performance-based learning system to offer early interventions and to stay on top of where each student is on their academic path;
  • Westminster Public Schools "is an English immersion district with one elementary school offering a transitional Spanish/English bilingual track. Teachers build skills to provide instruction to students as they acquire English and master content standards as part of the constant attention to building their capacity to meet the needs of their learners," according to the report; and
  • The Cesar Chavez Multicultural Academic Center, which features personalized learning plans, multi-grade cohorts, extended time for students, the ability to advance in subjects after demonstrating mastery, bilingual instruction, self-directed learning time and more.

Recommendations of the report include:

  • Adopting a more comprehensive definition of success for ELL students rather than focusing on transition them to Proficient in English as quickly as possible;
  • Use assessments to inform student learning and next steps for teachers and students;
  • Personalized learning approaches should focus on the whole student; and
  • Build up the role of educators and their capacity.

"To provide English language learners with an equitable, high-quality, and holistic education, there needs to be a shift away from one-size-fits-all approaches to empowering educators with modern instructional strategies, tools and research-based practices for personalizing learning for student success," said Susan Patrick, iNACOL president and CEO, in a prepared statement. "ELL students are the fastest growing and largest student subgroup in our public schools today. We are in early stages of examining how educators designing next generation learning models can transform teaching and learning for ELL students. We have the opportunity to help all ELL students succeed, reverse the trend and close the achievement gap between ELL and non-ELL students."

To read the full report, visit

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at [email protected].