New Jersey Department of Education

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ESL Curriculum Exemplars

Introduction (PDF)

New Jersey’s English Language Proficiency Standards, the WIDA Standards, address the knowledge and skills needed by English Language Learners (ELLs) (also known as limited English proficient/ELLs)   in grades pre-k through 12 to succeed linguistically and in academic content areas.  They reflect the social and academic language expectations of ELLs in grades PreK-12.  These standards were adopted by New Jersey in order to meet the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind  Act (Title III), which states that ELLs must meet the same challenging standards that all students are expected to meet.   These standards integrate both language and academic content in four language domains – listening, speaking, reading, and writing.   They are divided into  five grade level clusters (pre-k-k, 1-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12) and  five English language proficiency levels with both formative and summative frameworks.  These standards, which are aligned to the ACCESS for ELLs proficiency test, (required by Title III), can be accessed at:  WIDA Main Portal

School districts may use the WIDA Standards to revise and/or develop an integrated language ESL curriculum.  In order to facilitate this process, the New Jersey Department of Education, in conjunction with local school district representatives, has developed ESL Curriculum Exemplars.  The exemplars are essentially a sample unit plan at each of the  five grade level clusters – pre-k-k, 1-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12.  Backward design/Understanding by Design, project-based, learning, and 21st century skills have all been infused into the units.  Academic language, key vocabulary, and language structures are at the forefront of the units in order to answer the essential question, “What language do students need in order to comprehend and engage in  ______ (a content related or unit topic)?”



Grade Level Clusters