What is an EAL student?
- an English as an Additional Language student speaks one or more different languages at home / outside school
- studies some or all subjects at school in English
- for many students, English may be a third, fourth or even fifth language. Some speak a different language to each of their parents and a third to people in the local community, and then cope with English in school
How quickly do EAL students adapt?
- Typically students, especially younger ones, quickly acquire reasonable conversation skills
- It takes on average 5-7 years for students to acquire cognitive- academic language proficiency (CALP) which is needed to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding in examinations
Some may have learning difficulties which may not be identified because they are disguised by their lack of English.
In some cases, the cognitive abilities of students are under-estimated because of their performance in attainment tests which rely heavily on use of English- and this applies to most subjects. As a result, expectations of students may be lowered and this can result in a self-fulfilling prophecy of underachievement caused by lack of challenge and a lowering of the student’s self esteem.
How can you support the EAL students in your school using CEM data?
Having a snapshot profile of the student’s abilities in vocabulary, maths, non-verbal reasoning, perceptual speed and accuracy and proof-reading helps to identify areas of strength and weakness and can pinpoint where extra support might be needed.