With the number of non-English speaking households in the United States continuing to grow exponentially, schools throughout the nation have witnessed a commensurate increase in the number of students attending English as a Second Language (ESL) classes. Many school districts nationwide have struggled to accommodate the needs of children who often enter the educational system with limited or non-existent English.
While we have existing means to measure progress in school, primarily grades, there is ample evidence that exists to support the notion that grades alone do not necessarily indicate proficiency (or lack thereof) in a subject, and language learning is no exception. Standardized testing is yet another existing method to evaluate student learning and readiness for subsequent grade levels, but this to has been widely criticized as inadequate and inaccurate as a true measure of ability. In both cases, grades and standardized testing only provide a very small glimpse into what students can do, and they are not an effective means of getting a comprehensive view of overall proficiency.