Language Demands and Opportunities in Relation to Next Generation Science Standards for ELLs

Helen Quinn, Okhee Lee and Guadalupe Valdés

This paper highlights challenges and opportunities as English Language Learners engage with the Next Generation Science Standards. These new standards represent a major shift in science instruction, toward an explicit focus on scientific sense-making, language use, and scientific practices. These practices also place significance on developing explanations and argumentation from evidence as well as on language learning opportunities. The authors discuss in detail how four core science and engineering practices provide opportunities for ELLs:

  1. Developing and using models.
  2. Developing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering).
  3. Engaging in argument from evidence.
  4. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information.

Okhee Lee: Next Generation Science Standards and ELLs


Okhee Lee says that science and engineering practices are an important new element in the Next Generation Science Standards. Understanding Language highlights four of the practices that are language-intensive: developing models, constructing explanations, evaluating and communicating information, and engaging in argument from evidence.

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