The Center strives to provide policymakers and practitioners compelling and actionable information that can lead to improvements in the field. Publications, briefs, professional learning activities, and webinars are just some of the resources we offer.

Who Is in Charge of English Learner Services

Who Is in Charge of English Learner Services – Lessons Learned from a National Co-Teaching and Collaboration Study

By Martha Palacios, Amanda Kibler, Jamey Farren Burho, Martha Garrett Sandstead, Sara Wiger,
Karrie Woodruff


In this research brief, we explain unexpected yet practical insights that we gained by seeking district leaders’ participation in our online survey. We also provide general advice to school districts so that they can clearly communicate with families of English Learners and various other stakeholders regarding the essential programs and services they provide. 

A Vision for Using an Argument-Based Framework for Validity Applied to a Comprehensive Sys
Brief I_ Perspective on Language Development
Brief II_ An Argument- Based Approach to Validity
Brief III_ Inverting the Assessment System

A Vision for Using an Argument-Based Framework for Validity Applied to a Comprehensive System of Assessments for English Learners in Secondary Grades

By Margaret Heritage, Caroline Wylie, Molly Faulkner-Bond, and Aída Walqui


How can the assessment system be reimagined so that educators can engage in ongoing practices that are likely to lead to positive outcomes for every English Learner? To address this question, the paper presents a vision for the development and implementation of a learning-centered, equitable Comprehensive Assessment System Framework. The framework is intended to support assessment use in ways that enhance the learning of secondary-grade English Learners across content areas.


A series of four briefs present key ideas from the Vision paper.

Brief I: Perspective on Language Learning

By Margaret Heritage and Caroline Wylie

This brief presents the core ideas about language learning and effective pedagogy that ground the vision for a Comprehensive Assessment System Framework.

Brief II: An Argument-Based Approach to Validity

By Margaret Heritage and Caroline Wylie

The validation methodology for assessments in the vision for a Comprehensive Assessment System Framework uses an argument-based approach. This brief presents key ideas about this approach.

Brief III: Inverting the Assessment System

By Caroline Wylie and Margaret Heritage

The Comprehensive Assessment System Framework inverts the current assessment system to privilege assessments at the classroom level.  This brief describes the main features of the inverted system.

Brief IV: Using a Community of Practice Approach to Evaluate the Validity Argument for Classroom-Based Assessment

By Caroline Wylie and Margaret Heritage

The vision for a Comprehensive Assessment System has classroom assessment at its core. This brief describes how teachers can be responsible for the collection and evaluation of validity evidence, undertaken in a Community of Practice.

Brief IV_ Using a Community of Practice Approach to Evaluate the Validity Argument for Cla
How State, District, and School Levers C

A New Direction for Assessing English Learners in the Secondary Grades

By Margaret Heritage, Molly Faulkner-Bond, and Aída Walqui


This paper, a complement to the Vision for Using an Argument-Based Framework for Validity Applied to a Comprehensive System of Assessments (CAS) for English Learners in Secondary Grades, focuses on the perspective on language development that underpins the CAS and argues for a new direction in assessment use.

How State, District, and School Levers C

How State, District, and School Levers Can Improve the Course Access of Students Classified as English Learners
in Secondary Schools

By Manuel Vazquez Cano, Ilana M. Umansky, and Karen D. Thompson


Malleable levers that support course access and success among secondary-school students classified as English Learners. This new research brief explores how school, district, and state decisions can impact course access for students classified as English Learners in middle and high school. The brief describes existing research on the role of eleven levers related to (1) state and district policies, (2) school and programmatic decision, and (3) school staffing. 

What Can Teachers Do

Supporting Adolescent English Learners in Distance Learning: What Can Teachers Do?

By Aída Walqui


This brief presents a clear blueprint for how educators can design engaging and generative instruction for English Learners in distance learning environments.


Acknowledging the challenges that prevent students from learning in traditional ways, Walqui emphasizes the importance of teaching students to engage in metacognition as a way of becoming autonomous learners, the need to devote synchronous learning time to interactions with teachers and peers, and flexibility in allowing students to interact through text, email, or phone conversations when synchronous learning is not possible. Ideas for interacting with engaging texts are provided.

What Can School and District Leaders Do

Supporting Adolescent English Learners in Distance Learning: What Can School and District Leaders Do?

By Haiwen Chu


Focused on the role of school and district leaders, this brief outlines actions that can support educators to develop collective expertise in distance learning environments.


Chu presents research-based features of effective professional development and suggests ways in which school and district leaders can translate them into effective practices in the distance learning environments educators work in during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Modules Overview

Developing Educator Expertise to Work with Adolescent English Learners


A series of recorded conversations between Aída Walqui and various researchers in the field of English Language Learner education form the basis of these modules. They are intended to be used in teacher education/preparation courses or in teacher professional learning sessions to develop participants’ expertise in working with adolescent English Learners.


Module 1 – Introduction to Key Constructs

By Aída Walqui


Module 1 focuses on the field of teaching and learning as a whole, professionalism, and the need to develop a knowledge base. These concepts are introduced and will be an integral part of the entire series. In subsequent modules, they will be applied through diverse lenses to the education of adolescent English Learners in the United States.

Module 2 – The Language We Use to Talk about English Learners and Our Work: A Focus on the Conversation with Guadalupe Valdés

By Aída Walqui


Module 2 raises educator awareness of our use of language, the terms we use to talk about learning and teaching, and the labels and phrases we use to talk about our students. Throughout the module, the premise is that our language is powerful in signaling our feelings and positions and as such, it carries powerful —intended or unintended— messages. The module, furthermore, elaborates on Guadalupe Valdés’s “curricularization of language” and other negative conceptualizations of our work with English Learners.

Module 3 – Shifts in Our Understanding of Second Language Learning: From the Teaching of Oral Skills to the Development of Oracy: A Focus on the Conversation with Alice Stott

By Aída Walqui

How has our understanding of the learning opportunities and curricular focus English Learners need in the 21st Century to become active and civically responsible participants in American society? This teacher education and professional development module unpacks the notion of “deep learning” and contrasts it to outdated conceptions of the education adolescent learners of English as an additional language require. Moving beyond the goal of “college and career readiness” this module explores the importance of oracy development. Using a conversation and video clips from our British colleague, Alice Stott from Oracy 21, the module proposes that along critical literacies, English Learners need a strong foundation in oracy.

Module 4 – Multilingualism in the United States and Around the World: Current Issues and Tensions – A Focus on the Conversation with Ofelia García

By Haiwen Chu


In this module, you will explore some of the broader societal attitudes and policies toward bilingualism, the concept of translanguaging in the everyday practice of bilingual individuals, and potential uses of translanguaging within classroom learning that can expand learner autonomy.


This professional learning module is centered on the ideas discussed during Aída Walqui’s July 16, 2020, conversation with Ofelia García. The conversation focused on multilingualism and its implications for the design and enactment of quality instruction for students who are designated as English Learners that enables them to realize their full potential to become multilingual, multiliterate individuals.

Module 5 – Teaching and Learning Disciplinary Literacies at the Secondary Level: A Meaning-Making Perspective

By Meg Gebhard & Chalais Carter


This module explores the challenges many multilingual learners, often known as English Learners, face as they navigate public schooling and prepare for their futures. It will prepare you to set high expectations and provide high levels of scaffolding in order to enable them to read, write, and critique complex disciplinary texts at the secondary level while simultaneously maintaining a strong sense of the value of their linguistic and cultural resources in a multilingual world.

Module 6 – Equitable Policy and Practice for English Learners: What Should Teachers and School Leaders Know and Do?

By George C. Bunch


This module discusses the legal antecedents and guidelines that try to ensure quality and equity for English Learners. Given that policy is a blunt instrument, and that without definitions of what counts as quality education for language minoritized students, policy is not sufficient, this module also addresses key pedagogical issues.

Conversation with Leading Scholars

Perspectives on English Language Learning: Aída Walqui in Conversation with Leading Scholars


In 2020, Aída Walqui led 12 conversations with renowned linguists and educators from around the world who have made significant contributions to the study of multilingualism.


Representing a wide variety of interests in the field, guest speakers shared their perspectives from American universities as well as research and development institutions from four different countries. These sessions raise important issues that are relevant in today's context for improving secondary education for English Learners.