English Learners


Twenty percent of the U.S. population speak a language other than English at home. As the number of English  learners continues to grow, educators are seeking effective programs and instructional strategies to serve them. From its inception, improving the teaching of English around the world has been a core activity for CAL.

Currently we conduct projects ranging from curriculum design for English language learners, to professional development for instructors. CAL offers a variety of research-based resources related to the education of English language learners in Prekindergarten-Grade 12 programs; adult education programs; bilingual or dual language education programs, universities and community colleges; and business and workplace programs.

To learn more about CAL's work and resources about this topic, browse the subtopics within this section.


NYSESLAT (New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test)

CAL works with MetriTech and New York State to develop items for the speaking portion of the NYSESLAT, an assessment of English oral proficiency of all English Language Learners enrolled in Grades K-12 in New York State schools. Approximately 275,000 students across the state are assessed by the NYSESLAT annually.

WIDA Partnership


CAL collaborates with the 39-state WIDA Consortium in its work to provide standards-based assessments for English language learners, most prominently on the Consortium’s assessment of English language proficiency, ACCESS for ELLs®. The test is currently taken by over 1,000,000 students annually.

National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition (NCELA)

The U.S. Department of Education, Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) has awarded the contract for the National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition (NCELA) to Leed Management Consulting, Inc. (LMCi). CAL is pleased to be a partner, along with Synergy Enterprises, Inc. (SEI), to provide support to different stakeholders involved in the education of English Learners (ELs).

English for Heritage Language Speakers (EHLS)

EHLS  new logo

CAL designed and manages English for Heritage Language Speakers (EHLS), an intensive program that enables adult native speakers of critical languages to develop the English proficiency they need to succeed in professional positions in the federal government. EHLS is funded by the National Security Education Program and is conducted in partnership with Georgetown University.

Two-Way Immersion Outreach and Information Dissemination

The project supported CAL’s nationwide two-way immersion (TWI) outreach and public relations efforts, including the creation and updating of a two-way immersion website and directory, an email bulletin, and responding to questions from the public. 

Massachusetts ESL Programming Services Study

CAL conducted research on ESL practices in Massachusetts and other states (Nov. 2019 - May 2020) as part of a contract with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).


Fundamentals of Sheltered Instruction: Featuring the SIOP Model

This self-paced online course is designed to help teachers and administrators increase their knowledge of research-based sheltered instruction to support the language and content learning needs of English learners. Examples are based on the widely-used and effective SIOP Model.

SIOP in Action: Instructional Videos Featuring Complete SIOP Lessons at Three Grade Levels

SIOP in Action: Instructional Videos Featuring Complete SIOP Lessons at Three Grade Levels

Three videos, available on one DVD with a companion viewers guide, illustrate three SIOP lessons at different grade levels: second grade, eighth grade, and high school/GED. Designed to deepen understanding of SIOP Model implementation at the classroom level and to support professional development initiatives, these videos are also used in CAL SIOP professional development workshops and online learning.

Developing Academic Literacy and Language in the Content Areas

Developing Academic Literacy and Language in the Content Areas

Based on a 21st century approach to academic literacy that is aligned with today’s rigorous standards, this resource provides research-based strategies and practical, hands-on tools to help educators develop effective classroom activities. The package includes a comprehensive workbook supported by authentic classroom video and two complete unit plans on CD-ROM.


CAL specializes in developing effective solutions for educators and practitioners working with language learners at all levels of instruction (preK–12, higher education, and adult education). Drawing on years of experience as teachers, researchers, coaches, and curriculum developers, CAL staff provide the tools, training, and resources educators need to help students of all ages succeed. Learn more.

CAL Institutes: Professional Development Opportunities in Washington, DC Metro Area

CAL is continuing to expand its successful series of professional development institutes focusing on key issues for educators. CAL Institutes provide research-based strategies and practical, hands-on tools and help teachers develop classroom activities that target the academic language demands of college and career readiness standards, including the Common Core State Standards. We also offer Training of Trainer sessions to refine facilitator and coaching techniques for district and school instructional leaders.

  • Developing Academic Literacy and Language in the Content Areas
  • English Learners and Effective Multi-Tiered Systems of Support Strategies
  • Foundations of Dual Language Instruction
  • Foundations of Effective Classroom Assessments: Principles and Practice
  • Leading Dual Language Programs for Student Success: A CAL Leadership Institute
  • Newcomers in Your School: Cultural Connections and Instructional Strategies
  • Promoting Cultural Proficiency to Boost Outcomes for All Students
  • Research-based Vocabulary Instruction for English Learners
  • SIOP Training of Trainers: Foundations or Advanced Strategies
  • Spanish Literacy Institute: Fostering Spanish Language and Literacy in the Content Areas
  • Teaching Reading to Students Learning English: Training of Trainers or Direct Strategies 

View the complete calendar and learn more about CAL Institutes.

CAL Institutes can also be offered on-site at your location. Email the CAL Solutions Team to learn more.