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Speaking American: A History of English in the United States

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Language, Literacy, and Technology

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Academic Paper


Title: No Child Left Behind and its Effect on Language Policy
Author: Kate Menken
Email: click here TO access email
Homepage: http://web.gc.cuny.edu/Linguistics/people/menken/index.html
Institution: City University of New York
Linguistic Field: Sociolinguistics
Abstract: The most recent federal education policy in the United States, titled No Child Left Behind (NCLB), was passed into law in 2001. High-stakes testing is the core of NCLB, as tests are used to hold each school, district, and state accountable for student performance, therein affording the federal government greater control over the constitutionally decentralized national system of U.S. education. Because the tests being used are administered in English, English language learners (ELLs) typically fail to meet the law's annual progress requirements, resulting in serious consequences for the students and their schools. This article reviews research about the effects of NCLB on language policies in education. Empirical studies show that the law—which is at face value merely an educational policy—is in actuality a de facto language policy. After explaining the law's assessment mandates, this article provides analyses of the wording of NCLB from a language policy perspective. It also reviews studies about the limitations of the required tests as instruments to carry out the law's demands, and about the effects of the law on instruction and the educational experiences of ELLs.

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN Annual Review of Applied Linguistics Vol. 29, Issue 1, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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