INTRODUCTION

    The development of content standards in English responds to, the fulfillment of Puerto Rico Goals 2000 in ensuring that our students are prapared to meet challenging opportunities to learn English. These standards will guarantee equal educational opportunities and higher academic achievement expectations for all our student population. They are based on recent linguistic theory, research, and practice in the teaching/learning field.

Rationale

    The effort to do research and collect valuable information to develop standards of excellence reflects a new vision about the purpose and effectiveness of the teaching of English in the public schools :f Puerto Rico. Bearing upon these standards, we will have an opportunity to

 The English Program vision

The English Program aims to develop, educated and communicatively competent students who are creative and able to operate effectively as critical thinkers within different cultural contexts. Students will use effective skills that will he1p them understand themselves better and develop greater tolerance and solidarity with other people nowadays and into the 21st century.

The English Program mission

    The English Program will carry out varied, dynamic, and interactive educational activities so as to provide all students with opportunities to fully develop their personality and talents. Students will recognize the importance of knowing both English and Spanish, and make use of their first language skills as a foundation for developing fluency and competency in the English language arts.

    Students who learn to make use -of both their native and their second languages will be better equipped to meet the demands of the Puerto Rican society in the century ahead. Learning and aptly using both the English and Spanish languages will be an asset and an extremely useful tool that will help to direct our nation towards improved socioeconomical, political, and educational relationships with our neighbors in the Americas.

    Children will learn to value language acquisition as the key towards better communication among the nations of the world. They will help to create a more peaceful, understanding and productive global community that will enhance the quality of life in Puerto Rico and in the rest of our neighboring countries.

    The standards will provide articulation and sequence to the vision of learning and teaching in Puerto Rico. This vision is based on the latest trends and theories of language acquisition and takes into consideration the diverse student population we serve. lt also aims to encourage teachers and learners to promote the best teaching practices in the classroom. Standards are organized in four levels:

    Each level is organized around five strands: Auditory comprehension, Reading comprehension/Literary appreciation, Written communication, and Cultural awareness. Because the standards will be used as tools for excellence in education, the scope and sequence of each one of them entai1s a standard per se, descriptors, assessment, and indicators of student performance.

 Overview

    All elementary and secondary school students on the island must begin to prepare themselves for live the twenty-first century. They will have the opportunity to contribute to an increasingly global and diverse community and an interdependent community of world nations. Technological innovations have bridged our communities closer together and will continue to affect communication across time and space. Thus, communication in and between local, national, and international communities will be more important than ever before. To achieve their personal, social and long-term career goals, our student population must learn to communicate and work together with others skillfully and effectively. The Department of Education of Puerto Rico and the English Program need to meet the challenge of preparing students for life in this new world. The purpose of this document is to help ESL teachers identify the nature of English Language Arts Standards (ELAS) and their role in meeting its challenge.

    The English Program, along with the other academic programs in the Department of Education, has been engaged in the development of standards as an integral part of education reform efforts occurring both on the U. S. mainland and in Puerto Rico. Educators agree that standards must be adopted by schools that will move students beyond the acquisition of basic skills and gear them towards the mastery of high-order thinking skills, thus emphasizing excellence for all students. In many areas of our lives, we accept and demand- high standards. The development of model standards will help to identify what all children should know and be able to do to live and work in the forthcoming century. Establishing high standards of proficiency in English in Puerto Rico will allow parents, school personnel, and students to share the common expectations of what each one ought to know and be able to accomplish it in school and at home. Standards will help create coherence and sequence among instructional materials, grade levels, assessment practices, and the leaching/learning process.