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ELLP and the ESOL Funding Application Process and Other News:17 Feb Primary ESOL Online Weekly Update

Hi everyone

It is wonderful to see our community growing so a special welcome to all the new members who joined or re-subscribed this week .  

Now that we need to have a password to access the archives our discussions are more secure. This means that it is more important to join the mailing lists if you want access to the discussions both past and present. Don't forget - if you are trying to access the ESOL online archive of posts you will need the username eesollonline (2 x e and 2 x l) and password, - mailinglist. All of us LEE facilitators are rethinking a few things that we have done in the past which will no longer work, for example twitter links to the discussions, links in the monthly newsletters, other communities’ discussion links in my weekly updates. Thank you for your patience as we work through these changes.  

Breda and I use the esolonline twitter account to tweet/retweet links to things we have found online that we think are relevant to our communities. It might be research, a blog, webinar opportunities, articles, digital tools etc. Some of these I share in my updates but certainly not all of them. So if you like my Latest Gems from Around the World section of my weekly updates then I suggest you become a follower at ESOL Online@ESOLOnline .

The Ministry of Education's News Update is now available.

It contains details of

  • the upcoming ESOL funding rounds - forms are due in by Monday  2nd March All returns for the March 2015 allocation must include the ELLP scores for listening, speaking, reading and writing. Scores based on the old ESOL/AFs can no longer be used to support ESOL funding applications and the old versions of application forms should be discarded.
  • the Ministry team members
  • digital monitoring of oral language
  • a spotlight on Cornwall Park District School - using digital tools to share oral language gains.  
  • as well as links to bilingual booklets and BoT reporting templates

I loved the story on Cornwall school and their use of digital technologies to record oral language. The Dictogloss strategy I think is very powerful as students really notice their language gaps. I also found as a teacher that with focused observation I also could observe students thinking and the strategies they applied to try and solve the gap. I wish I had thought of video recording the process as it allows you to capture and record that thinking so it can be used for assessment purposes and also shared. I also loved the way Cynthia feeds backwards and forwards with the mainstream classroom teachers.

Another tool I discovered today that might be used in a similar way photobooth is Seesaw journal. You can read about it in this ClassTechTips.com  blogpost.

ESOL Funding and use of ELLP

You will all be busy testing students and making you MOE ESOL funding applications.  Some of you will be using ELLP for the first time to do this.  The important thing to remember is that ELLP is a tracking tool it is not an assessment as such. So use your assessments both formative and summative to help to determine a student’s best fit on the matrices.  Last year I wrote a detailed update on the process which included lots of links. I have copied it here again for easy access.

 Information regarding the ESOL Funding, ELLP Application process

Completing the ELLP matrices is an ongoing process based on your school’s usual age and ELL-appropriate assessment tools, activities and observations. Twice a year, schools draw from this evidence to apply for ESOL funding. This should not be seen as additional to the school’s normal assessment schedule but as an integral part of it. Teachers will continue to use a wide range of assessment tasks, activities and observations to make an OTJ (overall teacher judgement) with reference to the various descriptors on the ELLP matrices.

  1. All application forms, guidelines and the ELLP matrices are available and downloadable from the MOE website from this page: www.minedu.govt.nz/esol.
  2. For funding it is important to use the original matrices in the ELLP Folder (and downloadable from the Ministry website) as this provides a nationally consistent tool. There are clear guidelines to ensure that the matrices are completed in a consistent way.  
  3. Classroom teachers may find the ELLP descriptors more global in nature than other matrices they are familiar with. The detail necessary to make sound judgments can be found in the ELLP documents and DVD. Any additional information provided to assist teachers in making judgments should be carefully considered in light of these resources.
  4. A student’s OTJ placement level for funding purposes is at an ACHIEVED level. It is not what they are currently working towards. When a student can demonstrate a high degree of competence in the majority of the descriptors at any one level consistently, independently and across a range of contexts then that is their stage. For example, they need to be achieving in the ‘weighty’ areas of the descriptors at any one level. For writing, for instance, the use of grammar is ‘weightier’ that script fluency and letter formation. Therefore, the student needs to display competence in the grammar descriptors at that stage of the matrix before being placed at that stage.
  5. The reading matrix focuses on complexity of text rather than descriptors of reading behaviours. To achieve a particular stage, a student must demonstrate the ability to read texts of similar complexity with a high level of comprehension. They must demonstrate competence in decoding, making meaning and thinking critically.
  6. For oral language relook at the oral language exemplar DVD and get a feel for what a Foundation, Stage 1, Stage 2 etc. student looks and sounds like and then use your professional judgement when making an OTJ. Be aware of the importance of focusing on academic language.  
  7. You can continue to use the same assessments, timing and process that you used in the past as it is just the scoring that is different. The amount, levels and length of funding is staying exactly the same.
  8. Schools need to develop their own systems for maintaining these records and ensuring they are accessible to the appropriate staff. If a student leaves, their ELLP records should be passed on to the next school.
  9. When students reach the ELLP funding benchmark, some will need ongoing language support so schools may continue to track and monitor them using ELLP.

Teachers frequently ask how ELLP ‘matches with’ other key documents such as the Literacy Learning Progressions and National Standards. The nautilus diagram (page 12 of the ELLP Introduction booklet) illustrates in a global sense how students coming in to schools at different ages and with differing levels of English language ability can access the New Zealand curriculum. While ELLP is used alongside other documents, there will not be an exact match for all students. ELLP assists with tracking and monitoring ELLs’ acquisition of English language skills. The path they take can be very different from that of a native speaker of English. However, ELLP does link directly to other key Ministry ELL resources such as SELLIPS and ELIP. 

ELLP PLD has been available for a number of years since the ELLP document was published and distributed to schools. Resources provided to assist schools include the online Using The English Language Learning Progressions: professional support for leaders and teachers modules and the Using the ELLP matrices DVD which was sent to all schools with funded students and is available from Down the Back of the Chair. The feedback from the 199 schools that participated in the trial into the use of ELLP to confirm ESOL funding eligibility indicated strongly that the document itself was the most common and useful source of information for teachers, followed by the online support modules. 

  Questions for Reflection

 Questions for schools/teachers already using the ELLP process for applying for ESOL funding

  1. Am I confident that the procedure we use for making an OTJ matrix placement is sound?
  2. Do we need to stop using any current practices or assessment tools?
  3. What extra PLD would be useful for my school staff so that I can be confident in the OTJ judgments that they make?
  4. How could we streamline the funding application process or improve it further?
  5. Can all staff who work with a student access the student’s ELLP record?

 Questions for schools still needing to transition to the ELLP ESOL funding application process

  1. What further PLD do staff in our school need so they can confidently place an ELL on the ELLP matrices? How many sessions will be needed? When will these happen?
  2. What are the main points that teachers need to understand so I can have confidence in their judgments and the application process?
  3. How will we ensure that all staff can access the ELLP record on any student they work with?
  4. How can we streamline the application process to make it as seamless as possible?

 Useful Online Funding ESOL and ELLP Resources

  1. Downloadable ELLP document   http://esolonline.tki.org.nz/ESOL-Online/Student-needs/English-Language-Learning-Progressions 
  2. Using The English Language Learning Progressions: professional support for leaders and teachers modules athttp://esolonline.tki.org.nz/ESOL-Online/Student-needs/English-Language-Learning-Progressions/ELLP-professional-support-modules 
  3. MOE applying for ESOL funding process, guidelines, application forms, ELLP matrices and the list of countries/ethnicities etc are all downloadable fromhttp://www.minedu.govt.nz/NZEducation/EducationPolicies/Schools/EnglishForSpeakersOfOtherLanguages/FundingSupportInitiatives/ApplyingForFunding.aspx .


  • The latest NZC secondary middle leaders ESOL e-newsletter is now available online. I nearly always find something that can be equally applied to the primary sector so these are worth a look.  In this newsletter you will enjoy Key messages for teachers: When a new English language learner steps into your
  • Professional Learning Communities PLCs (ESOL Clusters) These professional groups, supported by the Ministry of Education, are invaluable for collegial support. They provide valuable opportunities for teachers of ELLs to develop their professional knowledge and work together collaboratively. There are PLCs in most areas and you can set one up if needed. Contact Shanley Gamble, Senior Advisor ESOL, at the Auckland MOE office if you want to find out where your closest PLC is and whom to contact or if you have any other queries regarding PLCs. Phone: (09) 632 9357 or email shanley.gamble@minedu.govt.nz
  • The Ministry has created a resource package to support the Pasifika Education Plan 2013-2017. It comes with a hardcopy and a pen-drive that includes some templates. Really worth looking into and seeing how it can support your schools.

Enjoy your week