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The 1994 revision of the Noncredit ESL Curriculum Guide (formerly the ESL Master Plan) was supported by funds provided through the Teachers Resource Center (TRC) and carried out by members of the noncredit ESL Curriculum Committee.
The objectives of the Master Plan Revision Committee were to:
- align the existing ESL curriculum with the ESL Model Standards for Adult Education Programs that have been mandated by the California State Department of Education;
- incorporate new level designations into the Curriculum Guide;
- reevaluate the time necessary for students to complete each level and the program as a whole;
- plan training sessions to orient faculty to the substantial changes that would occur in this revision;
- incorporate a literacy section which is parallel to the ESL levels.
The Noncredit ESL Curriculum Guide is the core curriculum for all ESL classes offered by the noncredit section of the ESL Department.
The Vocational ESL Supplement (1988) lists by level employment-related competencies.
The Life Skills Supplement (1988) lists by level life skills competencies.
The support and encouragement of Nina Gibson, ESL Department Chair, and Denise Quinn, TRC Coordinator, are gratefully acknowledged. Special thanks to Rita McCaffrey for text inputting.
The ESL Noncredit Curriculum Guide Committee:
Underlying the overall plan including the division into levels are program, curricular, instructional, and evaluation standards as well as proficiency levels which were developed by the California State Department of Education, Adult Division, as part of the ESL Model Standards for Adult Education Programs document. The Department of Education mandates that these elements must now be incorporated into all programs which receive federal supplementary funding.
These mandated standards are:
ESL Beginning Literacy Level
Students who enter this level cannot read or write in English. They may have limited oral proficiency in English. They may or may not read and write in their primary language, a lack that may be the result of:
- Little or no formal educational experience in their native countries
- Absence of written forms of their primary languages
- Learning disabilities
Students are unable to function unassisted in any situation which requires the reading and writing of English.
Students are unable to understand conversation in English.
Students depend mainly on their primary language or some basic gestures for communication.
Students have had limited, if any, formal education in their primary language. They have virtually no skills in reading or writing English. Occasionally, students who can print or write their names and addresses in their primary language are able to do the same in English. If they can read and write their primary language, they probably use a non-Roman alphabet.
Students are not understood even by English speakers who are used to dealing with nonnative speakers.
ESL Beginning-Low Level
Students enter the Beginning-Low level with little or no ability to read or write in English. They are unable to function unassisted in a situation requiring spoken English.
Students cannot function unassisted in a work situation which requires English. They can handle only very routine work situations that do not require oral communication in English and in which assigned tasks can be easily demonstrated.
Students may demonstrate comprehension of a few isolated words and phrases, but they are unable to understand conversation.
Students depend mainly on gestures, a few English words, or their primary language for communication.
Students may have reading and writing skills in their primary language or have successfully completed instruction at the ESL Beginning Literacy level. However, they have no skills in reading and writing English except for recognizing some letters of the alphabet and single-digit numbers. Sometimes, they can write their names and addresses.
Students are generally not understood, even by English speakers who are used to dealing with nonnative speakers.
ESL Beginning-High Level
Students enter the Beginning-High level with limited ability to read and write in English; they function in the use of English in a very limited way, speaking English in situations related to their immediate needs.
Students can function in a limited way to meet immediate needs at the workplace. They can handle routine work situations that involve only the most basic oral communication skills on a nontechnical level and in which all tasks can be demonstrated.
Students are able to comprehend a range of high-frequency words used in context.
Students can communicate survival needs using very simple learned phrases and sentences.
Students are able to get limited meaning from print materials with successive rereading and checking.
Students are able to copy isolated words and phrases and generate short sentences based on previously learned material.
Students can sometimes make their basic needs understood if context strongly supports interaction and in situations with English speakers who are used to dealing with nonnative speakers.
ESL Intermediate-Low Level
Students entering this level function satisfactorily in the use of English in basic survival situations related to their needs.
Students can handle entry-level jobs or job training situations that involve limited oral communication skills on a nontechnical level if tasks can be clarified orally or demonstrated repeatedly when communication breaks down. They have difficulty in interpreting written directions.
Students comprehend conversation containing some unfamiliar words when the words are used in familiar contexts. In face-to-face conversations, they can understand basic meanings.
Students can participate in basic conversations in routine social situations. Hesitations, misunderstandings, and errors may be frequent.
Students can read simplified material on familiar subjects and can get limited meaning, with teacher assistance, from some authentic materials dealing with everyday matters.
Students have sufficient control of the writing system to meet limited practical needs. They can write short messages or notes within the scope of their limited language experience but with some errors in word order. They can generate sentences into short, loosely organized paragraphs related to survival skills and personal topics but with frequent errors.
Students can generally make basic needs understood in most routine situations to English speakers who are accustomed to conversing with nonnative speakers. English speakers not used to dealing with nonnative speakers have difficulty understanding them.
ESL Intermediate-High Level
Students enter the Intermediate-High level with enough ability in the use of English to function independently in most familiar situations.
Students can function independently in their jobs, handling job training and work situations that involve oral communication skills on both a nontechnical and technical level. Written directions and materials may need to be simplified or clarified orally. Students at this level may offer help to beginning-level workers.
Students comprehend conversations containing some unfamiliar vocabulary.
Students have some ability to participate in face-to-face conversations on topics beyond their survival needs. They have the ability to clarify meaning by asking questions or by simply rewording.
Students can read simplified materials on familiar subjects and have limited success when attempting to read some authentic materials.
Students can generate simple sequential paragraphs related to survival skills, personal topics, and nonpersonal topics with some errors.
Students can usually be understood with some effort by English speakers who are not used to dealing with nonnative speakers.
ESL Advanced-Low Level
Students enter the Advanced-Low level with the ability in the use of English to function effectively in familiar and unfamiliar social situations and familiar work situations.
Students function effectively in familiar work situations. They can handle job training and work situations that involve oral communication skills both among fellow employees and with the public, although pronunciation difficulties may inhibit communication somewhat. With some clarification or assistance, these students can interpret written materials which are technical and work-related.
Students can comprehend conversations on unfamiliar topics and are beginning to understand essential points of discussions or speeches on topics in special fields of interest.
Students can engage in extended conversation on a variety of topics but lack fluency in discussing technical subjects. Students generally use appropriate syntax but lack thorough control of grammatical patterns.
Students can read authentic materials on everyday subjects and nontechnical prose but have difficulty reading technical materials.
Students can write routine correspondence ands about previously discussed topics, demonstrating control of basic grammatical patterns. Errors are common when using complex structures.
Both oral and written communication of the students can be understood by English speakers not used to dealing with nonnative speakers, but with difficulty.
ESL Advanced-High Level
Students enter the Advanced-High level with the ability in the use of English to meet most routine social and work-related demands with confidence, though not without instances of hesitation and circumlocutions.
Students can meet most work demands with confidence. They can also function effectively in work situations that require interaction with the public, though sometimes with hesitation and circumlocutions. They can follow written instructions in technical work manuals. If their pronunciation inhibits fluency and communication, these students are able to adjust their language to be understood.
Students can comprehend abstract topics presented in familiar contexts. They can also understand descriptive and factual material in narrative form.
Students are able to participate in casual and extended conversation. They show some hesitancy and grope for appropriate vocabulary when speaking on technical subjects or new and unfamiliar topics.
Students can read authentic materials on abstract topics in familiar contexts as well as descriptions and narrations of factual material.
Students can write descriptions, short essays, summaries, and responses to questions on most forms and applications.
Although these students can be understood by the general English-speaking public, their errors in grammar and pronunciation sometimes interfere with the communication process.
New textbooks and materials proliferate rapidly. It is impossible to provide a complete up-to-date list of books and materials in a document such as this. The TRC Library is an excellent resource for teachers to examine textbooks and materials. Resource Instructors are also available to offer advice and assistance.
Guide to the Noncredit ESL Curriculum Guide
The CCSF noncredit ESL curriculum is divided into four main levels (Advanced Low and High are not offered in the noncredit division at this time due to the absence of need) as mandated by the ESL Model Standards for Adult Education Programs: Beginning Low, Beginning High, Intermediate Low and Intermediate High. Each of these levels is then divided into two semester-long courses, e.g., Beginning Low is divided into two semesters, 1 and 2.
Each level is set up with the following divisions:
Entry-Level Student Profile:
a general description of the student's proficiency in English upon entry into that level. They are taken directly from the Model Standards in Adult Education. The Entry-Level Student Profile for Beginning High, for example, is also the Exit-Level Student Profile for Beginning Low.
Approach: a brief description of techniques appropriate to each level.
- Topics: the subject matter through which the language will be taught.
- Culture: guidelines on both the aspects of culture to teach and the approaches to use in teaching them.
- Language Functions: description of the use or purpose served by particular language expressions (requesting or comparing, for example).
- Language Skills: description of the capabilities students should have developed in their use of the four major language skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) on exit.
- Language Forms: sentence types, verbs, nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions and conjunctions.
- Evaluation: a description of the testing policy of the noncredit ESL program.