What types of support are available to ELL students at Notre Dame?
Students’ English proficiency is assessed when they arrive in our system and then rated from Level 1 to Level 5. The type and level of support offered depends on this level.
Level 1-4: Students whose English Proficiency is at levels 1 – 4 are generally more recent arrivals to Canada. They are usually placed in an ELL class in order to develop their English reading comprehension, writing, vocabulary, speaking, and listening skills to a level where they can be successful in ELA 10. Our goal is to ensure students will be successful as they move into regular ELA courses and towards the eventual diploma exam.
Level 5: Once students have progressed to level 5 they are no longer registered in an ELL class, however there are other informal supports in place which they can access if/as required. These may include extra time for exams among other things.
Why is my child still an ELL student?
Some students progress very quickly through the ELL levels, while it takes other students longer. Studies have shown that while everyday English social language is acquired relatively quickly (1-2 years), it can take up to 10 years to achieve native-like fluency in the academic language used in school. Each year our ELL teachers evaluate each student’s level based on results on the English proficiency exam, school marks, etc. Once students achieve level 6 they are demitted from the ELL program.
My child was born and raised in Canada, why are they considered to be ELL?
We have many Canadian born ELL students who have been raised speaking another language at home. While there can be many advantages to this, such students may require extra support with the academic language used in school.
What is the Gates McGinitie English proficiency test all about, and does my child have to write it?
All level 4 and 5 ELL students in high school are required to write the Gates McGinitie test once each year, both by our school district and by Alberta Learning. This test provides valuable information about each student’s progress in English Language development, and allows us to identify students who may benefit from extra support when necessary. As well, a recent test of English proficiency is required by Alberta Learning before it will grant an ELL student extra time on their diploma exams. The test does NOT count for marks, and the results are NOT recorded on a student’s transcript.
Should my child apply for Extra Time for their Diploma Exams?
An ELL student may request Extra Time from Alberta Learning when the time comes to write their Diploma exams (30 Level core subjects), which are now worth 30% of their final mark. Many parents are concerned that if their child receives extra time on a Diploma Exam, this will be recorded on their transcripts for post-secondary. This is NOT the case. The extra time is intended to `level the playing field` for ELL students, and is not used against them. If having extra time will be beneficial to an ELL student, they should definitely apply for it. If a student requires assistance with this they should see their ELL support teacher.
How does my child apply to receive extra time for their Diploma exams?
First, they must be sure they have written the Gates McGinitie test for this year. Second, they must keep a record of the times they used extra time during regular class assignments, quizzes, exams, etc. A tracking form is available from their ELL teacher. Alberta Learning will not grant extra time if the student has not demonstrated that they are using extra time regularly. Once the tracking sheet is complete, students return it to their ELL teacher before the deadline and she will then submit the student’s request for extra time to our district.
How successful are ELL students at Notre Dame?
Our ELL students are often among the most dedicated and hard-working students we have. We understand how difficult it can be to come to a new country, with a different language, and have to learn both English and high-school level academic content at the same time. It is amazing to watch so many of our ELL students grow in their skills and confidence and succeed at the highest levels. Just this past year, one of our Grade 12 ELL graduates was accepted into Neurosciences at the University of Alberta and received over $45,000 in scholarships.
Can my child receive extra time on non-diploma final exams?
Yes, if they feel extra time would be helpful they should come and see ELL teacher to arrange this. Again, no mention of having extra time is attached to their marks, so there really is no downside to receiving it.
How successful are ELL students at Notre Dame?
Our ELL students are often among the most dedicated and hard-working students we have. We understand how difficult it can be to come to a new country, with a different language, and have to learn both English and high-school level academic content at the same time. It is amazing to watch so many of our ELL students grow in their skills and confidence and succeed at the highest levels.