In the last blog, we talked about the importance and incredible impact the teachers’ understanding of the proficiency level descriptors can be towards students’ linguistic growth in the classroom. If you haven’t read that one, I encourage you to go back and read it, and if are in a position to work with teachers, share it with them! The proficiency level descriptors are a guide to planning and delivering instruction that moves students from one level to the next, not just to pass the calibration!
If we don’t understand the importance or the “why” behind what we are doing, especially if it’s difficult, we are going to be much less likely to put our all into it.
So let’s now talk about the difficulty in calibration.
I typically see 3 reasons why teachers (including myself when I was in the classroom) struggle with passing this calibration.
- They are unfamiliar with the proficiency level descriptors (PLDs).
- They are looking at the writing samples through an academic lens instead of a linguistic lens.
- They go too fast.
To tackle #1, I encourage teachers to turn the proficiency level descriptors into checklists. In our course The What, Why and How of TELPAS Calibration, we break the proficiency level descriptors up by the students’ strengths and challenges, and then we take a in-depth look at these descriptors.
To tackle #2, I encourage teachers to put the PLD Checklist next to the writing samples and only look at what the PLD is laying out. Also, if teachers aren’t familiar with what different grade levels of writing samples should look like, there are sample writing on TEA for STAAR writing and TELPAS!
To tackle #3, we encourage teachers to slow down. To go through the PLDs as a checklist, one at a time, as they work through the writing samples. There really isn’t that much objectivity that goes into calibrating when you break down the PLDs. This looks a little different in the K-1 holistic rating.
Your teachers are stressed and frustrated anyways right now, and we understand that. But your English Learners deserve to be cared for, adequately assessed, and then supported and instructed as they grow linguistically. If you are a school leader, the support you provide for teachers during this time, the importance you put on TELPAS, and a solid understanding of the PLDs will determine the success of teachers. Along with, the effectiveness of the rating and calibration.
Our mini-course, The What, Why and How of TELPAS Calibration will be available February 1! This is a two-part course. The first video is meant to be given to your teachers in the fall. This gives them the what and why of the proficiency level descriptors and an understanding of how to use these in their classroom.
The second video, is focused guiding teachers through the TELPAS Calibration and rating. If this package is ordered before February 14, your teachers will have access to the videos through the 2022-2023 school year as well! Click below for information!
Also, there are two sets of videos, one that is for K-1 teachers, and one for 2-12 teachers!
TELPAS will pass, but the benefits of understanding the language levels can be the catalyst of change for your English Learners!