There are numerous barriers in place when it comes to the instruction of English Language Learners (ELLs) in America's K-12 schools. There is the obvious barrier -- the language one -- along with cultural differences that may impact the way these students learn in comparison to their peers who are native English speakers. There are also some superficial and deep-seeded barriers that can hinder the progress of ELLs in the classroom -- ones that are all-too-familiar to educators.
Tracking and documenting the progress of ELLs is complicated, even within the scope of what just one teacher has to do. There are forms to fill out, assessments to be administered and regular day-to-day learning activities to track. Understanding specifically how ELLs are progressing is important though, particularly since the National Center for Education Statistics reports that 10 percent of public school students in the U.S. are ELLs (that's about 4.7 million students). In states like Alaska, Texas, New Mexico, California, Oregon, Hawaii, Colorado and Nevada, that percentage is even higher.