Differentiation & RTI for English Language Learners

Each student comes to school not only with unique academic needs but also with unique background experiences, culture, language, personality, interests, and attitudes toward learning. Effective teachers recognize that all of these factors affect how students learn in the classroom, and they adjust, or differentiate, their instruction to meet students' needs.

Here are some strategies for differentiating instruction for your English language learners, as well as ideas for taking students' level of English language proficiency into account when planning instruction.

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Recommended Resources

Differentiated Instruction and Testing Accommodations for ESOL Students

This guide from the Montgomery County Schools in Maryland demonstrates the parallel between differentiated instructional strategies for English language learners and state-permitted testing accommodations for ESOL students. The chart includes a sample of essential strategies recommended for providing differentiated instruction for English language learners across all content areas. While the guidelines are aligned to Maryland, this document may serve as a useful reference for ELL practitioners who are reviewing their own strategies and accommodations.

Webcast: RTI for English Language Learners

This webinar from the National Center on Response to Intervention, led by Dr. Julie Esparza Brown, Dr. Amanda Sanford, and Erin Lolich focuses on improving educational outcomes for ELLs through culturally and linguistically responsive implementation of an RTI framework in the area of elementary reading. Specifically, the panelists discus critical considerations to appropriately utilize screening and progress monitoring data with ELL students to improve reading outcomes by addressing the factors that influence ELL students' academic success. A case study is used to illustrate these recommendations with a first-grade ELL student.

Videos: Response to Intervention With English Language Learners

The RTI Action Network offers instructional video and audio content to highlight some of the important issues related to realizing the potential of RTI. In the first of three new videos, Dr. Janette Klingner offers suggestions across tiers on how to implement RTI with respect to English Language Learners (ELLs), with a special emphasis on enhancing the quality of core instruction. Additional videos address considerations for educators working with ELLS and cultural and linguistic diversity among ELLs.