Survey research tested the hypothesis that teachers support less rigorous curriculum for English language learners (ELLs) than for general-education (GE) students. Participating teachers (n = 205) worked in urban schools with large populations of ELLs whose home language is Spanish. Eighty-seven were randomly assigned to respond about ELLs and 118 about GE students. Teachers rated descriptions of instructional activities that differed in demand for critical thinking (CT), a proxy for rigor of curriculum. In within-subjects analyses, teachers asked about ELLs rated low-CT activities over high-CT ones, but teachers asked about GE students produced no difference. In between-subjects analyses, teachers asked about ELLs rated high-CT activities lower than did teachers asked about GEs, but these teacher groups did not differ in ratings of low-CT activities. No effects were associated with teachers’ gender, ethnicity, age, educational attainment, teaching experience, or administrative experience, or if they held ESL or bilingual certification. Teachers favored less rigorous curriculum for ELL students, especially concerning high-CT activities. Beliefs as such would likely contribute to achievement gaps between ELLs and GE students.
The Educational Forum
Murphy, A. F., & Torff, B. A. (2016). Growing Pains: The Effect of Common Core State Standards on Perceived Teacher Effectiveness. The Educational Forum, 80(1), 21-33. https://doi.org/10.1080/00131725.2015.1102999