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REL Pacific Ask A REL Response

English Learners
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April 2015


What teacher evaluation systems or rubrics exist for bilingual education within indigenous education environments?


The following document is a response to an Ask A REL inquiry to inform the development of a teacher evaluation system in the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI). The Ministry of Education is planning to design a new teacher evaluation system, and one consideration for this process is the diverse language environment of the RMI. REL Pacific has gathered literature and online resources.

REL Pacific reviewed available online information for New Zealand's Māori language program and Kamehameha Schools' language immersion program, as these language programs have recognized success in the Pacific region. Some information about expected teacher competencies in the Māori program are included, as well as guidelines from the Center for Applied Linguistics, which were heavily cited by Kamehameha Schools. Additional sources were identified through a web-based search. Search terms and selection criteria for the resources are included in Methods. Several well-known resources (e.g., Head Start) were excluded because they focused solely on preschool-age students.

Descriptions of the resources are quoted verbatim from the publication abstract (Abstract) or the publication itself (Introduction or Excerpt). An abstract is always used when available. However, if additional text in the resource provides information pertinent to the request not contained in the author's abstract, the additional information is also provided.

Research References

New Zealand Ministry of Education (2013). Tau Mai Te Reo: The Māori language in education strategy 2013–2017. Wellington: Author. Retrieved from Hikitia/TauMaiTeReoFullStrategyEnglish.pdf .

From the abstract:
Tau Mai Te Reo has been developed to ensure that there is a connected and cohesive approach to education contributions to support and strengthen the Māori language. This supports the obligations of the Ministry of Education and education sector agencies under Te Rautaki Reo Māori the Māori Language Strategy. It also contributes to education provision that supports learner identity, language and culture, and Māori enjoying and achieving education success as Māori. The Ministry of Education and education sector agencies also have obligations, as Crown agencies, to actively protect the Māori language as a taonga guaranteed under the Treaty of Waitangi.
From the excerpt, p. 46, the Teaching component of the ‘Effective provision of te reo māori in and through education’ rubric:
  Proficiency and competency of the Māori language teacher workforce to deliver education programme and curricula content in and through the Māori language.
Highly effective Effective teachers of Māori language have a high-level of Māori language proficiency and provide clear pedagogical leadership. There is a strong focus on delivery in a manner that is consistent with language acquisition theory. Research and learner outcome data are gathered to drive evidence-based practice. Māori language teacher development plans (school or community based) are in place to ensure the quality of teachers' language proficiency and constant improvement of teaching and learning. School leaders value and support Māori language provision.
Consolidating effectiveness There is evidence of pedagogical leadership with some attention to improving teaching practice in and through the Māori language. Teachers are actively upskilling their proficiency of te reo Māori, me ōna tikanga and/or pedagogy in teaching.
Developing effectiveness Some initiatives will be in place to strengthen pedagogy and teacher language quality but these may be external and generic professional development options, not endorsed by iwi within the school/iwi community.
Minimally effective There may be pockets within the education setting or context where some of the good practices of language learning or thinking are evident, but they are not widespread and heavily dependent on the presence and leadership of one or two teachers. No systematic plans are in place to raise and ensure teaching and teacher language quality.
Ineffective Teachers have limited proficiency of Māori language and/or practice in teaching. No processes or plans are in place to consider or improve teaching quality or teacher language—professional development is ad hoc or uses ineffective methodologies.
Poor or detrimental Teachers provide a rigid, inflexible or generic approach that fails to be culturally responsive to the language needs and aspirations of learners. There are significant concerns about the quality of teaching and the Māori language of teachers and there is no consideration as to how improvements and strengthening could occur.

Thomann, Hollis. (2012). Dual language educator license: Highlights of competencies, knowledge and skills. Massachusetts Association for Bilingual Education. Retrieved from by%20TESOL%20Teacher%20Standards%20copy.pdf.

From the excerpted description of resource, p. 1:
Domain 1: Language
The Dual-Language teacher should know, understand, and be able to apply the theories of first and second language acquisition and the understanding of language as a system to the classroom
Teacher Knowledge: What Teachers Know
The Dual-Language teacher knows and understands: 1.1 How to read, write, and communicate orally in a proficient manner in L1 and L2 (TX)

1.2 First (L1) and second language (L2) acquisition and development processes and the relationship between L1 and L2. (WA)

1.3 How the student's first language proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing transfers to English and impacts second language acquisition (WA)

1.4 Language development and can describe the different stages of language acquisition in L1 and L2 (WA)

1.5 Similarities and differences between all aspects of L1 and L2 structures including: phonology (the sound system), morphology (word formation), syntax (phrase and sentence structure), semantics (meaning), and pragmatics (context and function) (WA)

1.6 The interrelatedness and interdependence of first- and second-language acquisition (TX)
Application: What Teachers Can Do
The Dual-Language teacher is able to: 1.1 Prepare lessons, materials, and assessments in L1 and L2 (TX)

1.2 Apply linguistic concepts to support learners' language and literacy development in L1 and L2 (TX)

1.3 Apply knowledge of linguistic concepts to select and use appropriate instructional methods, strategies, and materials for teaching L1 and L2 (TX)

1.4 Assist learners in making connections between languages (e.g., noting similarities and differences, using cognates) (TX)

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. (2014). Retrieved from

From the excerpt (webpage))
Based on the Five Core Propositions, National Board Standards define what accomplished teachers should know and be able to do in 25 certificate areas. They represent 16 different subject areas and four developmental levels and are applicable to most teachers in U.S. public schools.

Relevant certificate area standards:

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (2010). English as a new language standards (2nd ed.). Arlington, VA: Author. Retrieved from

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (2010). World languages standards (2nd ed.). Arlington, VA: Author. Retrieved from

Kuhlman, N. & Knežević, B. (n.d.) The TESOL guidelines for developing EFL professional teaching standards. TESOL International Association: Alexandria, VA. Retrieved from

From the excerpt (online introduction):
TESOL International Association developed these guidelines for postsecondary institutions, government agencies, ministries of education, and other entities charged with developing professional teaching standards in an EFL [English as a Foreign Language] context. TESOL encourages teachers, administrators, policy makers and anyone else who needs these guidelines to use, adapt, and distribute them freely...
From the excerpt p. 2:
EFL teaching is a multifaceted activity; it has several dimensions, and it must rise to the challenge of its enhanced responsibilities... It is, however, beyond this document to discuss how culture or cultural segments affect and shape teachers' beliefs and, vice versa, how one's teaching reflects those beliefs in different cultures. Additionally, it is beyond this document to discuss how basic epistemological or ontological beliefs about culture (be it foreign or domestic) change in the process of teaching and learning a language. But just passing on general information about the target culture and stereotype models is no longer sufficient. The context in which a foreign language is taught and learned has changed. It is characterized by mobility, migration, and diversity...

Given all that, a new platform for teaching a foreign language in a multicultural, multilingual (a society/community dimension), and plurilingual (an individual dimension) society is needed. Multilingualism and multiculturalism need to be embedded in the concept of educational values, and this embedding will present a challenge for language education and for the creation of standards for quality EFL teaching.

...In Part 2, these guidelines move to the Standards Package, which introduces the theoretical framework and organizational formats for standards, the performance indicators as well as the methods of assessment and evaluation, followed by the references and glossary. Part 3 provides the step-by-step process of creating standards, and Part 4 provides examples of the processes of EFL teaching standards development in Albania, Ecuador, and Egypt. Part 5 provides a summary and conclusions.

Büyükyavuz, O. (2014). Professional competencies required to teach English to young learners. Dil Ve Edebiyat Egitimi Dergisi, 2(9), 1–7. Retrieved from

From the abstract:
Teaching is a multi-faceted profession which depends on a number of factors. Of these teachers play a pivotal role in constructing and shaping educational practices at all levels. It would be difficult to dispute the fact that quality education can be ensured, regardless of subject matter, only by quality teachers. In order for teachers to teach effectively they are expected to have various competencies. The paper first discusses the issue of competency for teachers in general terms. In the second part teacher competency for language teachers will be presented based on current literature. The third section discusses the characteristics of young learners and the desirable attributes of English language teachers to young learners concluding with recommendations for current teacher education program.

Howard, E. R., Sugarman, J., Christian, D., Lindholm-Leary, K. J., & Rogers, D. (2007). Guiding principles for dual language education (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: Center for Applied Linguistics. Retrieved from

From the excerpt, pp. 18–19:
Teachers in language education programs, like those in mainstream classrooms, should possess high levels of knowledge relating to the subject matter, curriculum and technology, instructional strategies, and assessment. They must also have the ability to reflect on their own teaching (Darling-Hammond, 1998). These teacher characteristics have been linked to higher student outcomes (Darling-Hammond, 2000; Montecel & Cortez, 2002; Wenglinsky, 2000). Darling-Hammond (2000) found that the proportion of well-qualified teachers was by far the most important determinant of student achievement at all grade levels, even after taking into consideration the special needs of English language learners and students in poverty situations.
From the excerpt, pp. 108–109:
Principle 1: Instructional methods are derived from research-based principles of dual language education and from research on the development of bilingualism and biliteracy in children.
  • Explicit language arts instruction is provided in both program languages.
  • Academic content instruction is provided in both program languages.
  • The program design and curriculum are faithfully implemented in the classroom.
  • Instruction incorporates appropriate separation of languages according to program design.
  • Teachers use a variety of strategies to ensure student comprehension.
  • Instruction promotes metalinguistic awareness and metacognitive skills.
Principle 2: Instructional strategies enhance the development of bilingualism, biliteracy, and academic achievement.
  • Teachers integrate language and content instruction.
  • Teachers use sheltered instruction strategies, such as building on prior knowledge and using routines and structures, to facilitate comprehension and promote second language development.
  • Instruction is geared toward the needs of both native speakers and second language learners when they are integrated for instruction.
  • Instructional staff incorporate technology such as multimedia presentations and the Internet into their instruction.
  • Support staff and specials teachers coordinate their instruction with the dual language model and approaches.
Principle 3: Instruction is student-centered.
  • Teachers use active learning strategies such as thematic instruction, cooperative learning, and learning centers in order to meet the needs of diverse learners.
  • Teachers create opportunities for meaningful language use.
  • Student grouping maximizes opportunities for students to benefit from peer models.
  • Instructional strategies build independence and ownership of the learning process.
Principle 4: Teachers create a multilingual and multicultural learning environment.
  • There is cultural and linguistic equity in the classroom.
  • Instruction takes language varieties into consideration.
  • Instructional materials in both languages reflect the student population in the program and encourage cross-cultural appreciation.

Richards, J. (2011). Competence and performance in language teaching. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. Retrieved from

From the introduction, p. 1:
What is it that language teachers need to know and do to be effective classroom practitioners and language teaching professionals? How is this knowledge and practice acquired? And how does it change over time? The issue of language teachers' knowledge and skill base is fundamental to our understanding of effective teaching and to approaches to language teacher education. In this paper I want to explore the knowledge, beliefs, and skills that language teachers make use of in their practice. My focus is on the understandings and practices of those teachers who would generally be regarded by their peers as exemplary language teaching professionals. We all recognize those teachers when we work with them. But what distinguishes the way they understand and approach their work? In trying to answer this question, I will focus on ten core dimensions of language teaching expertise and practice [language proficiency, content knowledge, teaching skills, contextual knowledge, language teacher's identity, learner-focused teaching, pedagogical reasoning skills, theorizing from practice, membership of a community practice, and professionalism]. They are not in any hierarchical relationship, and there is some overlap among them, but they help lay out some of the basic territory and will hopefully help conceptualize the nature of competence, expertise, and professionalism in language teaching.


Keywords and Search Terms Used in the Search

The following keywords and search strings were used to search the reference databases and other sources:

  • “English as a foreign language” or “language learn” AND “teach” NOT "Dissertations & Theses"
  • “English as a foreign language” or “language learn” AND “evaluat” NOT "Dissertations & Theses"
  • “English as a foreign language” or “language learn” AND “teaching standards” NOT “Dissertations & Theses”
  • “English as a foreign language” or “language learn” AND “teacher evaluation” or “teacher competencies” NOT "Dissertations & Theses”
  • “bilingual” or “biliterate” AND “teach” NOT "Dissertations & Theses”
  • “bilingual" or “biliterate” AND “evaluate” NOT "Dissertations & Theses”
  • “bilingual" or “biliterate” AND “teaching standards” NOT "Dissertations & Theses”
  • “bilingual" or “biliterate” AND “teacher evaluation” or “teacher competencies” NOT "Dissertations & Theses”
  • “dual language” AND “teach” NOT "Dissertations & Theses”
  • “dual language” AND “evaluate” NOT "Dissertations & Theses”
  • “dual language” AND “teaching standards” NOT "Dissertations & Theses”
  • “dual language” AND “teacher evaluation” or “teacher competencies” NOT "Dissertations & Theses”
  • “language” AND “learn” AND “Pacific” NOT "Dissertations & Theses”
  • “language” AND “teach” AND “Pacific” NOT "Dissertations & Theses”
  • “language” AND “learn” AND “indigenous” NOT "Dissertations & Theses”
  • “language” AND “teach” AND “indigenous” NOT "Dissertations & Theses”
  • “language” AND “teach” AND “indigenous” NOT "Dissertations & Theses”
  • “intercultural bilingual education” AND “teacher standards” or “competencies” or “evaluation”
  • “teacher quality” AND “foreign language” or “bilingual” or “dual language”
  • “native language” AND “teacher standard” OR “teacher evaluation” OR “teacher competencies”
  • “L2” AND “teacher standard” OR “teacher evaluation” OR “teacher competencies”

Databases and Resources

Google/Google Scholar, ERIC, ProQuest Education Journals, EBSCOhost Online Research Database

Reference Search and Selection Criteria

The web search sought research studies that were published in peer-reviewed research journals within the last 10 years. REL Pacific searched for documents that are freely available online. Resources included also had to be in English. Resources included in this document were last accessed in April 2015. URLs, descriptions, and content included in this document were current at that time.

This memorandum is one in a series of quick-turnaround responses to specific questions posed by educational stakeholders in the Pacific Region (American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Hawai'i, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau), which is served by the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL Pacific) at McREL International. This memorandum was prepared by REL Pacific under a contract with the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences (IES), Contract ED-IES-17-C-0010, administered by McREL International. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of IES or the U.S. Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.