ELD Proficiency Level Continuum

ELD Continuum

In 2012, California adopted new ELD Standards.  These standards promote the essential English language skills needed to do well in school.  They clearly describe the progression of language knowledge, skills, and abilities that English learners (ELs) need in order to participate and succeed across all academic content areas.  Teachers are using these standards to make sure ELs meet academic expectations at each grade level.

 What are the ELD Proficiency Levels?

Emerging: Students at this level typically progress very quickly, learn to use English for immediate needs, and begin to understand and use academic language for the grade level, with substantial language support provided by the instructor(s) and learning environment.

Expanding: Students at this level use their growing language skills in more advanced ways that are appropriate to their age and grade level, with moderate language support provided by the instructor(s).

Bridging: Students at this level can independently use a variety of high-level English language skills and fully participate in grade-level academic activities in all content areas, with light language support provided by the instructor(s).

Expectations of English Learners

The CA ELD Standards are organized into three parts. 

Part I: Interacting in Meaningful Ways.  English Learners participate in meaningful and intellectually challenging tasks in three ways:

  • Collaborativelyby communicating with others about social and academic topics (listening and speaking)
  • Interpretivelyby understanding written and spoken information (listening, speaking, and reading)
  • Productivelyby writing or presenting to explain ideas and information (speaking and writing)

Part II: Learning About How English Works.  English learners comprehend and produce academic texts in various content areas. English learners use language to create organized texts, expand and enrich ideas, and connect and condense ideas.

Part III: Using Foundational Literacy.  This section emphasizes how all teachers play a crucial role in developing the literacy of ELs.  English learners at all grades require specialized instruction to learn foundational literacy skills, based on their age, previous literacy, and educational experiences.  For ELs new to California schools in grades six through twelve, teachers also need to provide learning activities and material to help students achieve all language skills, including literacy in English, as quick as possible.


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