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ESL Companion to the VELS

The English as a Second Language Companion to the Victorian Essential Learning Standards provides a framework for assessing student achievement and developing effective learning programs for the many students in Victorian schools who are learning English as a second language.

These students are a diverse group, of different ages, at different stages of learning English, from differing first-language backgrounds and with varying amounts of education in their first language.

The ESL Companion provides an overview of:

Teachers should use the ESL standards to assist them when assessing and planning English language learning programs for ESL students.

Relationship with the Victorian Essential Learning Standards

The study of English, and the broader concept of literacy as it is described in the English Standards, is about the appropriate and effective use of English. This includes the use of English as a means of learning in all domains, and the development of knowledge about language, and English in particular. The goals for students learning English as a second language are the same, but their learning pathway to these goals is different. They need explicit English language teaching and extra time, support and exposure to English before the English Standards are appropriate. As the ESL standards map English language learning, they are presented in the same dimensions as the English standards.

ESL learners also need to understand and express their understanding using English in the three strands and all domains, so it is important that assessments of progress in all domains take into account students’ development as learners of English. It is important that teaching programs in all domains are supportive of the needs of students still learning English. The ESL standards will assist teachers across all domains to understand the ESL learning pathway, and to take into account the learning needs of ESL students.

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