Category Archive : Uncategorized

Ways to Empower English Language Learners


Ways to Empower

English Language Learners

In American K-12 public schools, English language learners (ELLs) make up over 10% of students. 10% may not sound like much, but that’s over 5 million students!

ELLs are unique: some have high oral proficiency skills but struggle to read and write while some are the exact opposite. Each student is different and will require individualized learning support. It’s not just up to the ESL specialist at your school to support these students, each teacher needs to know how they can empower the English language learners in their classroom.


Why English Language Learners Need Your Support

Unless ELL students are supported properly, they risk falling behind their English-fluent peers. In Child Trends’ 2014 study, the Academic Achievement of English Language Learners, Dr. David Murphey points to an achievement gap between ELL students and English fluent students in Texas. Only 36% of fourth-grade ELL students scored at or above a basic level in reading and only 46% of eighth-grade ELL students scored at or above a basic level in math. There is a clear achievement gap between ELL students and their English fluent peers.

To make progress towards closing the achievement gap, educators and administrators need to consider the needs of ELL students and implement strategies to support their academic success. The following guidelines and strategies have been endorsed by scholars and researchers in the field of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).

General Guidelines for Including ELL students

  • Foster a welcoming class environment where students are allowed to make mistakes.
  • Avoid unnecessary idioms and slang.
  • Allow plenty of time for students to develop their ideas.
  • Use visual media to build connections to concepts.
  • Differentiate instruction.
  • Praise ELL students’ hard work in learning an additional language.

Use Appropriate Test-Taking Accommodations

There are various types of assessments and adjustments you can use depending on your students. It’s important to remember that the type of accommodations you offer to ELL students may vary from each student depending on their proficiency level and grasp of academic vocabulary.

  • Provide extra test-taking time. ELL students need more time to process information in a second language.
  • Read the test aloud. Some English language learners develop speaking and listening skills before reading and writing skills.
  • Provide word banks. Word banks help ELL students make connections between concepts and relevant vocabulary words.
  • Use informal assessments. Fill-in-the-blank questions and written responses aren’t the only way to assess students’ knowledge. Use informal assessment techniques such as observation, performance assessment, or sorting activities.

Use Total Physical Response (TPR)

TPR works best with young and beginner-level ELL students, but it can be effective across all ages and proficiency levels. TPR combines language with movement; teachers physically act out terms and “talk with their hands.” This is similar to how we all acquire our first language and is encouraged by psychologist James Asher. This technique works well for teaching new vocabulary words, especially verbs. It is also a great technique to use while storytelling and reading.

ELL students don’t rely solely on verbal cues while interpreting the English language, they also use non-verbal body language to understand what’s being taught. Using TPR in your class is a great way to support the success of ELL students.


Collaborate with ESL Specialists

Certified ESL specialists understand how language acquisition works and can provide valuable insights when it comes to student assessment and support. Get to know your school’s ESL specialist and meet with them on a semi-regular basis to discuss your ELL students. ESL specialists can help you decide what kind of accommodations you should make for your students who are learning English and what kind of classroom activities will help them be successful.


Encourage Collaborative Communicative Work

The majority of TESOL experts today take a communicative approach to language teaching. Meaning they focus on how students use language to communicate with each other. Small group work allows students to practice their speaking and listening skills while learning new topics.

Be sure to call on your ELL students just as often as you call on your English fluent students even if your ELL students are shy or hesitant to speak up. It’s natural for ELL students to feel some anxiety about speaking in front of the class but it’s important for them to do so. Always be patient with your ELL students and give them enough time to communicate, don’t try to finish their sentence for them or guess what they are trying to say unless they ask for assistance.


Don’t Overcorrect Grammar and Pronunciation

Unless you are specifically teaching a lesson on grammar, don’t correct your ELL students’ mistakes. Remember that you’re interested in their knowledge of the class content, whether that be history, science, math, or literature. When ELL students are corrected on their language use, they may feel embarrassed and discouraged from speaking up in class. It’s more important for students to participate and use language to the best of their ability than it is for them to speak perfectly grammatical English.

The Bottom Line

Learning gaps affect all students. Teachers should use professional development tools that help them empower students and close learning gaps. The Measuring Up for English Language Learners program provides instructional lessons that target the six performance level descriptors (PLDs). Lessons include unparalleled teacher support using paired literacy and informational passages.

Now that you’ve read about the various ways you can support ELL students in your class, you’re ready to put these strategies to use!

Measuring Up Foundations
Measuring Up

Peoples Education, Inc. | Mastery Education, Inc.

25 Philips Parkway, Suite 105 | Montvale, NJ 07645 | 800-822-1080 |

Moving Forward with Blended Learning

School administration and educators faced a strenuous task in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic: how to educate students without a classroom. As schools remained closed, educators relied on Google Classrooms, Zoom, and other online platforms to connect with students.

student and teacher

The pandemic has caused an incredible strain on our society, but it has also opened doors for the growth of online education. More than ever, people rely on technology to learn. With the recent transformation of online learning, we step further away from the traditional education model and towards a future where learning doesn’t solely take place in the classroom.

Although mask mandates have been lifted and many of us feel like things are getting back to normal, many schools are continuing to use online strategies to educate students. One popular strategy amongst educators is called blended learning.

What is Blended Learning?

Blended learning is an educational strategy that uses online and technology-based material to support traditional in-person learning. A 2010 study from The U.S. Department of Education found that blended learning strategies yielded better results than classes that solely used in-person strategies. What exactly qualifies as blended learning is still a topic of debate among scholars, but there are a few models that have been recognized for their positive impact on learning:

  • Rotation model: students rotate stations on a fixed schedule, moving from technology-based stations to face-to-face time with their teacher.
  • Enriched virtual model: students have required face-to-face learning sessions with their teacher and then are free to complete their remaining coursework remotely.
  • Flex model: teachers deliver most content online, but in a traditional school setting. Teachers guide students through learning and provided one-on-one or small group help when needed.

How to Effectively Use Blended Learning

District Administration (Cheser, 2021) noted an increase in the use of technology being implemented in school had a rapid rise during the COVID-19 pandemic. Tasked with getting a remote program up and running, schools increased the use of technology Now that students and teachers are back in the classroom, more teachers are choosing to use a blended solution — technology combined with in-person learning — for a flexible learning model.


So, how can you make sure you’re effectively implementing this educational strategy? How will you know which model is right for your students?

You don’t have to figure it out on your own, Measuring Up offers blended learning solutions to help you make assessments, target instruction, and deliver differentiated instruction. Measuring Up offers eBooks and online tools specifically designed to help you meet your state’s educational requirements while using blended learning strategies.

Print and digital products by Measuring Up have been developed by experts in the field. Using their products frees up your valuable time and allows you to focus on what you love the most: teaching. With their dynamic assessments and practices, you’ll be able to use blended learning in the most effective way for your classroom.

Blended Learning is Here to Stay

We know that educators have used the blended learning strategy long before the COVID pandemic. Now we know that blended learning is here to stay. It’s clear that blended learning has a lot of value to offer our education system. If you have never used blended learning models before, it’s not too late! Talk to your administration about using Measuring Up resources to get started with blended learning.


Karen Cheser | September 16, 2021 noted Four ways active learning spaces support the modern educational environment.

2022 – 2023 Back to School: A Practice Guide

2022 – 2023 Back to School: A Practice Guide

School leaders in today’s educational environment recognize that the school year does not begin on the first day of classes. It starts with careful planning months in advance. Now more than ever, with school disruptions, it is critical to put in place educational tools and supports for students as soon as possible.

Here are some suggestions for back-to-school preparations

Enrollment & Academic Data

To effectively support students starting on day one, it is important for administrators to anticipate the total enrollment at school and by grade level. Having a complete picture of each student’s most recent academic data is also crucial.

Student data helps to determine not just how individual students are progressing but also how subgroups (e.g., Bilingual/ESL, Special Education, Gifted and Talented) of students are doing.

This information impacts budget allocations, staffing decisions, and scheduling.

Back to school

Budgeting & Purchasing

Budget responsibilities of a school administrator include purchasing instructional resources and securing the right number of materials for students and teaching personnel. When administrators have a solid understanding of key student data, they can make informed decisions about the best, high-quality core and supplemental educational products. Additionally, administrators can determine whether differentiated materials, such as standards-based resources for on-, above-, and below-grade level is needed for students.

Administrators may begin buying educational equipment, resources, services, and supplies on July 1 or September 1, depending on when the new fiscal year begins.

Ordering supplies early ensures prompt delivery before the beginning of classes.

Inventory & Storage

Instructional material storage areas can quickly get out of control if they are not prioritized. The end of the school year is the perfect time for administrators to take inventory and reorganize storage areas so new materials can be received efficiently during the summer.

Some tips for organizing storage areas include:

  • Arranging materials based on grade levels and subject areas.
  • Placing materials that will be distributed at the start of the school year in an easy-to-access location.
  • Clearly labeling storage areas for quick access.

Collaboration with key instructional staff during the summer months offers opportunities for collaboration to review student data, budget priorities, and curriculum materials distribution.

Additional topics for discussion include:

  • Finalizing student lists
  • Confirming staff schedules
  • Reviewing Campus Improvement Plan
  • Discussing new programs

Strategic Calendar

calendarThe school calendar for 2022–2023 is another important topic for collaboration that deserves an in-depth look. A strategic calendar is essential to getting things done in the new school year.

It is important to review and adjust the calendar on a regular basis to plan school events and activities, such as teacher planning times, parent-teacher conferences, and Back-to-School nights.

Having an updated, visible, and organized calendar makes the school run more smoothly.

Communication Strategy

Communication is essential for an administrator to connect students, teachers, families, and other stakeholders to the school’s mission. It is important to determine how, when, and to whom information will be shared.

letterBelow are a few Back-to-School communication items that can help start the year off right:

  • Staff Welcome Letter
  • Parent Welcome Letter
  • School Announcements
  • First Campus-Wide Assembly
Before a new school year is the best time to get realigned, inspired, and excited about what is possible and attainable.

How cognitive research influenced the Measuring Up Foundations instructional design

Many students struggle because they lack the foundational skills needed for grade-level standards. Foundational skills underpin the rigorous standards that are the norm in today’s classrooms. Researchers suggest teaching prerequisite skills at time of need. There is a window of opportunity for teaching and learning; the task is to know when it appears and exploit it.1 Much like building background information sets students up for learning success, teaching foundational skills as they are needed increases students’ ability to connect to increasingly difficult skills.

Accelerating Learning

The more you know about your students, the better able you will be able to accelerate their learning. But having students with learning loss or unfinished learning puts added pressure on teaching grade-level curriculum. Experts are calling for a shift in thinking from wholesale placing students in remedial programs to teaching pre-requisite skills at time of need.2 Building both background knowledge and foundational skills makes learning new and more difficult skills easier.

Building foundational skills at time of need is most effective when it incorporates recommendations made by cognitive researchers. Mayer and Moreno (2003) suggest the following:

“Eliminate distractions to keep students focused.”

“Simplify the content by segmenting it into steps.”

“Simplify the task by lowering the readability and problem complexity.”

These recommendations have shown to be effective for all students, especially for those who struggle with learning. Keeping these recommendations in mind will help to accelerate learning for all students.


  1. Killi, Steinar and Morrison, Andrew. Universal Journal of Educational Research 3(10): 742-750, 2015 DOI: 10.13189/ujer.2015.031013 Just-in-time Teaching, Just-in-need Learning: Designing towards Optimized Pedagogical Outcome. Retrieved from
  2. Mayer & Moreno (2003). Nine Ways to Reduce Cognitive Load in Multimedia Learning. Educational Psychologist, 38(1), 43–52. Retrieved from
Measuring Up

Peoples Education, Inc. | Mastery Education, Inc.

25 Philips Parkway, Suite 105 | Montvale, NJ 07645 | 800-822-1080 |

Learn how schools have created productive ELPs.

Learn how schools have created productive ELPs.

Extended learning programs (ELPs) benefit students—especially those who struggle—in several ways. ELPs provide them with a fun learning environment and create a sense of belonging. These learning programs are also a productive way to support learning.

ELPs engage students and boost achievement. Researchers found that ELPs “had positive and significant effects among students at risk for failure in reading or math.”1 Successful schools are seeing positive results when their ELPs align to standards and directly support classroom instruction. However, crafting a program that supports classroom instruction without redundancy can be tricky.

One way to provide congruency with classroom instruction is to maintain a focus on grade-level standards, but in a different way. One key study found that successful ELPs were not merely an extension of the school day, but a chance to expand upon what students were learning.2 Using resources that are congruent with classroom instruction is an effective way to reinforce rigors of standards-based instruction in a low-risk environment. Although ELPs focus on skills and standards students need, they look and feel different to students. But make sure the programs are teachable. ELPs should be easy to use and effective. Look for resources that are organized by standards and that have a consistent instructional design with ample teacher support to guide implementation.

Academics - Fun

Creating a balance between academics and fun is also important. One way to boost the “fun factor” is to create a reward system for academic success that allows students to choose a non-academic reward.

Finally, communication between extended-learning staff and students is important. After all, it is the teacher who is recommending students for ELP, so it is critical to keep the lines of communication open.


ELPs share the same goal as the classroom but should use totally different styles to keep students engaged. With an eye on academic achievement, creating a risk-free, fun learning environment is a welcome asset into struggling students’ world.


(1)Lauer, P. A., Akiba, M., Wilkerson, S. B., Apthorp, H. S., Snow, D., & Martin-Glenn, M. L. (2006). Out-of-School-Time Programs: A Meta-Analysis of Effects for At-Risk Students. Review of Educational Research, Vol. 76, No. 2 (Summer, 2006), pp. 275-313. American Educational Research Association. 3. Vandell, D. L., Reisner, E. R., & Pierce, K. M. Quoted in What does the research say about afterschool programs. November 2017. The Afterschool Alliance. Retrieved from

(2)McCutcheon, Emily R., Hadjiharalambous, Sissie. (2016) Profiles of Extended Learning Programs: Promising Practices in Tennessee’s 21st Century Community Learning Center. Retrieved from

Measuring Up

Peoples Education, Inc. | Mastery Education, Inc.

25 Philips Parkway, Suite 105 | Montvale, NJ 07645 | 800-822-1080 |

There is no doubt, technology is a great educational tool. It has become even more meaningful for post-pandemic learning.

A recent Eschool news article (Ascione, 2021)1 addressed the issues of post-pandemic learning in the classroom. They reported that the number of teachers surveyed consider themselves to be comfortable using technology rose from 50% in 2020 to 66% in 2021—and that is good news. The survey also revealed that teachers are more positive about using technology for personalizing learning for students—good news indeed.

Technology empowers teachers and students by connecting them to content and resources. Technology can “accelerate, amplify, and expand the impact of effective teaching practices.”2 It promotes engagement and empowers student ownership. It frees up teaching time. When educators incorporate technology to enhance their instruction, they recognize the importance of their role in ensuring student achievement—to make sure students are working on standards they need to progress and are fully engaged their own learning.


Connecting assessment to instruction and practice is essential when individualization is the goal. When technology is used for assessment, it generates real-time assessment data that is especially valuable to inform instructional decisions, monitor students’ progress to standards mastery, and examine learning trends. It provides opportunities for personalized learning and empowers students “to demonstrate mastery of standards while working at a self-regulated pace. When instruction and practice are utilized within the same platform, the benefits increase.

Effective blended-solution resources are specifically designed to be fully integrated into an instructional program. Blended is a key point of differentiation. Lessons that incorporate teacher-led instruction with technology means that educators are in control of instruction—and that’s an important distinction.


The benefit of using educational technology makes it a desired option for educators looking to accelerate learning, fill learning gaps, and document standards mastery. It makes individualized learning a reality and boosts students’ confidence. Harness the power of Measuring Up Live technology. It provides teachers with the tools to make meaningful adjustments in instruction that maximize instructional time leading to greater results.


  1. Ascione, Laura. What’s in store for the post-pandemic classroom? eSchoolNews. August 27, 2021. Retrieved from
  2. Reimagining the Role of Technology in Education: 2017 National Education Technology Plan Update. US Department of Education. October 2017. Retrieved from

Put Your Intervention to the Test!

Put Your Intervention to the Test!

Fill out the form to learn more about Measuring Up Foundations and Measuring Up Live
With testing season looming, it’s not too late to take a critical look at intervention instruction. But what separates good intervention from great? Put your intervention instruction to the test with these questions:


Does each student have a personalized learning plan?

The most effective instruction is directed by individual student’s strengths and needs. Collecting and using data is foundational to knowing students well enough to create a personalized plan for them. Assessment technology can be a fast and accurate way to get baseline data—and identify learning gaps.


4Do your resources support your intervention goals?

Having a variety of resources is also key to keeping intervention fresh and on point.

Measuring Up Foundations is a new resource that homes in on the foundational skills students require for grade-level learning. Organized for easy use, the clean-page format and streamlined instruction helps students to focus and stay on task. Technology can help too. Measuring Up Live 2.0 offers educators the ability to assess quickly and effectively. The integrated system also provides practice ensuring that students are working on the precise skills they need for mastery.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW Measuring Up Foundations Sampler NOW!

Does your instruction build the necessary foundational skills for grade-level learning?

Struggling students often have gaps in foundational skills needed for grade-level learning. Rather than going back a year “just in case,” the Council of Great City Schools (2020) suggests accelerating learning with “just-in-time” teaching—teaching foundational skills in small groups as they are needed for grade-level learning.


Do you respond quickly to changing needs?

Reaction time matters. The quicker the response time, the less likely a student will fall behind. Effective educators alter instruction, ask questions, think aloud, model, and provide scaffolds according to students’ needs. Teachers support and monitor practice, so time spent independently is purposeful and productive.


So, how does your intervention instruction measure up? (No pun intended!) It’s never too late to adjust our practices-especially when achievement is at stake. Addressing learning challenges take time. It also takes dedicated educators and resources working together to ensure student achievement.


Council of Great City Schools (June 2020) Addressing Unfinished Learning After Covid-19 School Closures. Retrieved from

Measuring Up

Peoples Education, Inc. | Mastery Education, Inc.

25 Philips Parkway, Suite 105 | Montvale, NJ 07645 | 800-822-1080 |

Wishing you all a very happy Labor Day from your Measuring Up team!

Welcome Back!

We’ve taken a little break this summer from our posts and hope all you educators have also enjoyed your time off. As school is starting across the country, we welcome you all to subscribe to our blogs to receive updates on product developments and interesting thought leadership on state assessments, differentiated instruction, standards-based instruction, and adaptive, differentiated practice.

To learn more about the suite of Measuring Up solutions, visit us at today!


Six Strategies to Increase Student Engagement

No teacher wants to lecture to a student who is bored or disengaged, and no student wants to sit in a classroom feeling the material is meaningless. When it comes to learning, engagement is essential. Savvy educators seek to connect with students and engage their growing minds in new and innovative ways. But these engagement methods must be grounded in research, rather than guesswork.

With so many resources available today, how can educators find those that engage students? According to Robert Marzano in The New Art and Science of Teaching (2017), monitoring student engagement is critical so that teachers know when to employ effective engagement strategies and sense when students may need differentiated instruction to optimize learning.

Students can provide teachers with self-reported engagement data through informal verbal or written prompts during a lesson. Marzano suggests that teachers should react when they see students are disengaged. Increasing engagement might involve creating a “lively pace” through the use of instructional segments, allowing students to work at their own individual pace, or grouping students according to where they are in their comprehension of new material. Educators may also want to add physical movement, such as standing to vote for an answer, or present new and unusual information through real-world connections.

To engage students, teachers should consider the following strategies:

1. Make It Meaningful: If students do not consider a learning activity worthy of their time and effort, they might not engage in an effective way, or may even disengage entirely in response.

2. Foster a Sense of Competence: Competence results from a student’s ongoing personal evaluation of whether he or she can succeed in a learning activity or challenge.

3. Provide Autonomy Support: Teachers should create a sense of autonomy by nurturing the students’ sense of control over their behaviors and goals.

4. Embrace Collaborative Learning: When students work effectively with others, their engagement may be amplified as a result.

5. Establish Positive Teacher-Student Relationships: High-quality teacher-student relationships are another critical factor in creating student engagement, especially in the case of difficult students and those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.

6. Promote Mastery Orientations: Engagement is more likely to be full and thorough when students pursue an activity because they want to learn and understand through mastery, rather than get a good grade, look smart, please their parents, or outperform peers.

Research by Marzano has shown that providing choices to students of all age levels often increases their intrinsic motivation and have been linked to increases in effort, task performance, and subsequent learning. However, for students to feel that their decision has an impact on their learning, teachers should provide students with choices of tasks, reporting formats, learning goals, and behaviors.

The new Measuring Up instructional worktexts offer engagement features designed to get students thinking about their progress so they become invested in their own success. These materials engage students through collaboration, turn and talk, and prompts to check understanding. Students learn relevance through with real-world applications of vocabulary and math skills, authentic writing tasks, and real models of math concepts. Each lesson is grounded in the significance of concepts being learned.

And the digital Measuring Up Live platform offers games, dashboards to monitor progress, and data and reporting, all designed to allow students to be drivers of their own success and to help teachers monitor student engagement.

It is important to choose a partner that evolves with the ever-changing education landscape. Mastery Education, the creator of Measuring Up, is constantly striving to provide richer and deeper learning experiences that prepare students for the challenges of mastering today’s standards and unlock the possibility of a brilliant future.

To learn more, visit today.