By William Zahner, San Diego State University and English Learners Success Forum, Lynda Wynn, California State University Stanislaus, and Abigail Amoako Kayser, California State University Fullerton and English Learners Success Forum
This resource presented by the Education Trust—West describes findings from a national survey conducted in the summer of 2021, the English Learners Success Forum (ELSF). The survey examined teachers’ views of the value of their instructional materials for teaching ELs and identified areas where the curriculum could better support English learners’ access to grade-level mathematics content and language standards. In an exploratory analysis of the responses from the 156 California math teachers who took the
survey, four key findings emerged:
1. Elementary teachers broadly used the curriculum adopted by their district, while most secondary teachers used self-created materials on a daily basis.
2. Most teachers reported that their curricular materials were aligned with the math content standards. Yet, only half responded that their materials helped them to tailor instruction to support English learners.
3. The majority of teachers reported that their materials lack relevance for students.
4. The majority of teachers reported that their materials do not support them to assess or provide feedback on English learners’ development of math language.
These findings indicate that district curricula are falling short of adequately serving multilingual students and their teachers. It is critical that policymakers at the state and local levels listen to the experiences of teachers of English learners as they make decisions about the curriculum—decisions that will have a daily impact on students and teachers. In particular, these key findings should inform the California Department of Education, the Instructional Quality Commission, and the State Board of Education’s current revision to the California Mathematics Framework and the list of criteria that will be developed to approve instructional materials under the new framework. Local school boards and district leaders should also consider these findings as they approve adoptions and purchases of curricular materials at the local level.