Academic Language: Making Working Sense of Expectations for Candidates in the edTPA

Academic Language: Making Working
Sense of Expectations for Candidates
in the edTPA
Nicole Merino
Cathy Zozakiewicz
Goals/Outcomes of Session
• Define Academic Language
• Examine Academic Lang. Components of edTPA
• Identify Academic Language Demands within an
Elementary Math Lesson
• Complete Language Activities within edTPA
• Develop Ways to Support Candidates
CENTRAL GOAL: To Be Able to Identify AL in Order
to Support Candidates
Where Are We Right Now?
• Individual Free Write:
What is our present definition of academic
language? What does it mean in our own
words? How might we explain it to our Teacher
Candidates? (TC)
• Share Outs with Whole Group
Academic Language…
• Academic language represents the
language of the discipline that students
need to learn and use to participate and
engage in meaningful ways in the content
• Academic language is the oral and
written language used for academic
purposes and the the means by which
students develop and express content
Academic language is hard for us to
see: it is like water to fish.
Remember the Fish
• Academic language development is
making the language of the school,
content, and classroom explicit to
expand students’ control over
language and improve their language
choices according to the purpose
(FUNCTION) and audience for the
Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning, and Equity
Academic Language
Set of words
Organizational Strategies
• Zwiers’ describes academic
language as “the set of
words, grammar, and
organizational strategies
used to describe complex
ideas, higher-order thinking
processes, and abstract
concepts” (p. 20).
• What are the words &
structures that students
need to know to understand
& make meaning in a
content area?
Academic Language
Linguistic Processes
• “When we teach a
subject, or any topic or
text within that subject,
we must teach the
academic vocabulary for
dealing with it—not just
the words, but also the
linguistic processes and
patterns for delving
deeply into and operating
upon that content”
(Wilhelm, p. 44).
Academic Language Demands
• There are language demands that
teachers need to consider as they plan
to support student learning of content,
which include:
• Vocabulary
• Language functions
• Syntax
• Discourse
Vocabulary includes words and phrases (and
symbols) that are used within disciplines
1. words and phrases with subject specific
meanings that differ from meanings used in
everyday life (e.g., table, ruler, force, balance);
2. general academic vocabulary used across
disciplines (e.g., compare, analyze, evaluate); and
3. subject-specific words defined for use in the
Language Functions
• Language Functions are the content and
language focus of learning tasks often
represented by the active verbs within the
learning outcomes. Functions are the
purposes for which language is used.
Examples of Functions in Performing Arts
• Describing techniques or methods used in a
given period or style of performance
• Summarizing information
• Evaluating performances
• Classifying based on attributes
Functions –
Purposes of
Chamot and O’Malley, 1974
• Compare - explain graphic organizer
showing contrast
• Order - describe timeline, continuum or
• Classify - describe organizing principles
• Analyze - describe features or main idea
• Infer - generate hypotheses to suggest
• Justify & Persuade - give evidence why
“A” is important
• Solve Problems - describe problemsolving procedures
• Synthesize - summarize information
• Evaluate - identify criteria, explain
priorities, etc.
Syntax is…
The set of conventions for organizing symbols,
words, and phrases together into structures (e.g.,
sentences, graphs, tables, in music – a staff, etc).
Examples in mathematics:
Grammar and Syntax
1 Grammar consists of set rules regarding language and
sentence structure, such as no splitting infinitives and no
hanging prepositions.
1 Syntax, in reference to sentences, is how a sentence is
worded and structured and in ways that can impact meaning.
This includes consists types of sentence (Declarative,
Interrogative, Exclamatory, Imperative) and word order
(passive vs. active voice), and even length of sentences
(short vs. long).
Discourse is…
Discourse includes the structures of written and oral
language, as well as how members of the discipline talk,
write and participate in knowledge construction. Discipline
specific discourse has distinctive features or ways of
structuring oral or written language (text structures) that
provide useful ways for the content to be communicated.
Within Discourse – Some
Text Categories or Modes of
Think about how these texts/modes are
used or developed in
different subject areas.
Narration/Narrative Text
Narration recounts an event or a series of related events.
• "Narration is . . . a component of much of the writing done in the
workplace. Police officers write crime reports, and insurance
investigators write accident reports, both of which narrate
sequences of events. Physical therapists and nurses write narrative
accounts of their patients' progress, and teachers narrate events for
disciplinary reports. Supervisors write narrative accounts of
employees' actions for individual personnel files, and company
officials use narration to report on the company's performance
during the fiscal year for its stockholders." (Barbara Fine Clouse,
Patterns for a Purpose)
Narration/Narrative Text
Narration recounts an event or a series of related
• "Jokes, fables, fairy tales, short stories, plays, novels,
and other forms of literature are narrative if they tell a
story. Although some narrations provide only the basic
who, what, when, where, and why of an occurrence in an
essentially chronological arrangement, as in a
newspaper account of a murder, others contain such
features as plot, conflict, suspense, characterization, and
description to intensify readers' interest." (Lynn Z.
Bloom, The Essay Connection, Houghton Mifflin, 2001)
Descriptive Text…
A writing strategy using sensory details to portray a
person, place, or thing. Two Types of Description:
Objective and Impressionistic
1. "Objective description attempts to report accurately the
appearance of the object as a thing in itself, independent of
the observer's perception of it or feelings about it. It is a
factual account, the purpose of which is to inform a reader
who has not been able to see with his own eyes. The writer
regards himself as a kind of camera, recording and
reproducing, though in words, a true picture. . . .
Descriptive Text…
A writing strategy using sensory details to portray a
person, place, or thing. Two Types of Description:
Objective and Impressionistic
2. "Impressionistic description is very different. Focusing
upon the mood or feeling the object evokes in the observer
rather than upon the object as it exists in itself,
impressionism does not seek to inform but to arouse
emotion. It attempts to make us feel more than to make us
see. . . .
Exposition/Expository Text
A statement or text intended to give information about (or an
explanation of) an issue, subject, method, or idea.
• "One of the traditional classifications of discourse that has as a
function to inform or to instruct or to present ideas and general truths
objectively (Woodson, 1979).
• Expository writing: Any form of writing that conveys information
and explains ideas. As one of the four traditional modes of
discourse, expository writing may include elements of narration,
description, and argumentation, but unlike creative writing or
persuasive writing, its primary goal is to deliver information about an
issue, subject, method, or idea.
• The process of forming reasons, justifying beliefs, and drawing
conclusions with the aim of influencing the thoughts and/or actions
of others.
• "The three goals of critical argumentation are to identify, analyze,
and evaluate arguments. The term 'argument' is used in a special
sense, referring to the giving of reasons to support or criticize a
claim that is questionable, or open to doubt. To say something is a
successful argument in this sense means that it gives a good
reason, or several reasons, to support or criticize a claim (Walton,
Observations of AL in Use
• Our Task:
– Watch video clip of a veteran elementary teacher
during a lesson on
– Take notes to identify the language demands –
vocabulary/symbols, language functions, syntax
and/or discourse
– Consider how this teacher is supporting student
language use
Debriefing about Video on AL
• Share your observations with 1-2 table
partners. What academic language did
you identify? What supports?
• Share synopsis of group discussion with
whole group
• Discussion – our thoughts and questions
What Did We Observe?
• Vocabulary?
• Language Functions?
• Other Language Demands?
Two Evaluated Components of
Academic Language in the edTPA
• In Planning Task 1: Prompt 4 - Rubric 4
• In Assessment Task 3: Prompt 3 -Rubric 14
Using Fraction Lesson, Let’s Work Through Planning
Prompt 4 – Seeing This Through Candidate’s Eyes
4A. Language Demand: Language Function. Identify one language
function essential for students to learn the content and skills within your
central focus. Listed below are some sample language functions. You may
choose one of these or another more appropriate for your learning segment:
4B. Identify a key learning task from your plans that provides students with
opportunities to practice using the language function. In which lesson does
the learning task occur? (Give lesson/day number.)
Planning Prompt 4 - Supporting Literacy
Development Through Language continued…
4C. Additional Language Demands. Given the language function and task
identified above, describe the following associated language demands
(written or oral) students need to understand and/or use.
– Vocabulary, key phrases or symbols
Plus at least one of the following:
– Syntax
– Discourse
Consider the range of students’ understandings of the language function and
other demands—what do students already know, what are they struggling
with, and/or what is new to them?
4D. Language Supports. Refer to your lesson plans and instructional
materials as needed in your response to the prompt.
Describe the instructional supports (during and/or prior to the learning
task) that help students understand and successfully use the language
function and additional language identified in prompts 4a–c.
Assessment Prompt 3
Evidence of Language Understanding and Use:
You may provide evidence of language use with your video
clip(s) from Task 2, through the student work samples analyzed
in Task 3, or an additional video clip.
Refer to examples from the clip(s) (with time stamps) and/or student
work samples as evidence.
• Explain the extent to which your students were able to use language
(selected function, vocabulary, and additional identified demands) to
develop content understandings.
Why include Academic Language in
the edTPA?
• Why do you think Academic Language has been
included in the edTPA?
• How do you think you might explain this to your
teacher candidates?
• Who is academic language for?
Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning
Why include Academic Language in
the edTPA?
• Academic language is different from everyday
language. Some students are not exposed to this
language outside of school.
• Much of academic language is discipline-specific
and deepens subject matter THINKING.
• Unless we make academic language explicit for
learning, some students will be excluded from
classroom discourse and future opportunities that
depend on having acquired this language.
Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning
• Writing requires something to say, the
words to say it, and the structure with
which to write it (McCracken &
McCracken, 1986).
Final Thoughts and Questions
• Final Thoughts and Questions
• Thank You So Much For Coming!
• More Academic Language Resources:
– edTPA Website:
– Fraction Lesson available at:
Academic Language
Linguistic Processes
• “When we teach a subject,
or any topic or text within
that subject, we must teach
the academic vocabulary for
dealing with it—not just the
words, but also the linguistic
processes and patterns for
delving deeply into and
operating upon that content”
(Wilhelm, p. 44).
Academic Language
Using Terms
Using Structures
Genres specific to contents
Words that are used to
signal that genre/task
• Each genre generally has one or more
corresponding linguistic features.
– Retell an event - regular and irregular past
tense verbs
– Describe people/things - adjectives
– Describe place - prepositions
– Describe actions - adverbs and -ing verb
– Compare/Contrast attributes -er and -est
– Give/Carry out commands - imperative verbs
– Generate hypotheses - if…then
– Justify or persuade - logical connectors
(however, furthermore, therefore)
Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning, and Equity
Academic Language
Looking at one task
Sentence Frames
• Generate hypothesis
– Language Arts
– Math
– Social Studies
– Science
• In order to do this task for each
content area, requires that
– Know what a they are being
asked to do
– Have something to say
– Have the words to say it, or
– Have the structures to write it