Graduate Certificate in ESOL Literacy


The Graduate Certificate in ESOL Literacy program is designed for educators interested in teaching students who are not native English speakers. The program offers classroom teachers an opportunity to increase knowledge, skills, and techniques in all aspects of reading and writing instruction, especially relative to the needs of ESOL students. The course content is focused at the classroom level to better enable teachers to meet diverse literacy needs of school­-aged children.

Program Competencies

The program competencies are built around the five domains of TESOL Standards. These may be referenced in their entirety here. The program seeks to develop teachers who will:


Domain 1. Language
Candidates know, understand, and use the major theories and research related to the structure and acquisition of language to help English language learners (ELLs) develop language and literacy and achieve in the content areas. Issues of language structure and language acquisition development are interrelated.

Standard 1.a. Language as a System: Candidates demonstrate understanding of language as a system, including phonology, morphology, syntax, pragmatics and semantics, and support ELLs as they acquire English language and literacy in order to achieve in the content areas.

Standard 1.b Language Acquisition and Development: Candidates understand and apply theories and research in language acquisition and development to support English language/literacy learning and content area achievement.

Domain 2. Culture

Candidates know, understand, and use major concepts, principles, theories, and research related to the nature and role of culture and cultural groups to construct supportive learning environments for ELLs.

Domain 3. Planning, Implementing, and Managing Instruction

Candidates know, understand, and use evidence ­based practices and strategies related to planning, implementing, and managing standards ­based ESL and content instruction. Candidates are knowledgeable about program models and skilled in teaching strategies for developing and integrating language skills. They integrate technology as well as choose and adapt classroom resources appropriate for their ELLs.

Standard 3.a. Planning for Standards­ Based ESL and Content Instruction: Candidates know, understand, and apply concepts, research, and best practices to plan classroom instruction in a supportive learning environment for ELLs. They plan for multilevel classrooms with learners from diverse backgrounds using standards ­based ESL and content curriculum.

Standard 3.b. Implementing and Managing Standards­ Based ESL and Content Instruction: Candidates know, manage, and implement a variety of standards­ based teaching strategies and techniques for developing and integrating English listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Candidates support ELLs’ access to the core curriculum by teaching language through academic content.

Standard 3.c. Using Resources and Technology Effectively in ESL and Content Instruction: Candidates are familiar with a wide range of standards­ based materials, resources, and technologies, and choose, adapt, and use them in effective ESL and content teaching.

Domain 4. Assessment

Candidates demonstrate understanding of issues and concepts of assessment and use standards­ based procedures with ELLs.

Standard 4.a. Issues of Assessment for English Language Learners: Candidates demonstrate understanding of various assessment issues as they affect ELLs, such as accountability, bias, special education testing, language proficiency, and accommodations in formal testing situations.

Standard 4.b. Language Proficiency Assessment: Candidates know and can use a variety of standards­ based language proficiency instruments to show language growth and to inform their instruction. They demonstrate understanding of their uses for identification, placement, and reclassification of ELLs.

Standard 4.c. Classroom­ Based Assessment for ESL: Candidates know and can use a variety of performance­ based assessment tools and techniques to inform instruction for in the classroom.

Domain 5. Professionalism

Candidates keep current with new instructional techniques, research results, advances in the ESL field, and education policy issues and  demonstrate knowledge of the history of ESL teaching. They use such information to reflect on and improve their instruction and assessment practices. Candidates work collaboratively with school staff and the community to improve the learning environment, provide support, and advocate for ELLs and their families.

Standard 5.a. ESL Research and History: Candidates demonstrate knowledge of history, research, educational public policy, and current practice in the field of ESL teaching and apply this knowledge to inform teaching and learning.

Standard 5.b. Professional Development, Partnerships, and Advocacy: Candidates take advantage of professional growth opportunities and demonstrate the ability to build partnerships with colleagues and students’ families, serve as community resources, and advocate for ELLs.

Outcomes Assessment

The assessment of outcomes consists of multiple measures. Grades on assignments and for courses are the first level of assessment. The course goals, learning outcomes, and assignments are designed to address the measurement of program and graduation competencies. Candidates will take an online test of their content knowledge at the end of their program, as well as a disposition survey. A second assessment will be taking the PRAXIS II ESL Subject Test (5361) as part of their clinical coursework. A passing score of 149 is required. Praxis scores should be submitted to Wilmington University via ETS. They will also need to be posted in Taskstream.

Program Design

This certificate includes 15 credits of content specific courses related to ESOL learners and required by the Delaware Department of Education. The certificate program requires that candidates be working in an educational setting to complete the program competency assignments.  The Graduate Certificate in ESOL Literacy program is designed to meet four sets of professional standards: Delaware Professional Teaching Standards (DPTS), Teachers of English Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), National Council for Accreditation Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC), and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) under the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) standards. Further, the program is aligned with the Delaware Performance Appraisal System (DPAS II). There is a non­credit (MED 6102) E­Folio course requirement.

Course Requirements

Clinical Course

MLL 7403 Assessment of Second Language Learners

Offered in summer under special circumstances

This list does not represent the recommended sequence.

MED 6102 E-Folio

MLL 7402 Second Language Acquisition in ELL

MLL 7405 Teaching Literacy for ELLs

MLL 7406 Methods of Teaching Language Arts/English to Second Language Learners (Grades K-12)

MLL 7401 Structure of English Language in ELL

Content and Performance Assessment Requirements

This certificate program contributes to eligibility for certification as an educator in Delaware public schools. As such, all candidates must meet the content and performance assessment requirements described in DE Administrative Code, Title 14, Regulation 290.

The regulation states, in part:

Content Assessment

“Where a content readiness exam is applicable and available in area, subject, or category of specialization sought, the Candidate shall achieve a passing score on an examination as established by the Professional Standards Board, in consultation with the Department and with concurrence of the State Board.”

Performance Assessment

“Where a performance assessment is applicable and available in an area appropriate to the Program in which a Candidate is enrolled, the Candidate shall achieve a passing score as a requirement to Exit the Program. The performance assessment may not be scored by any employees of the Educator Preparation Program or Unit, and shall be scored by Certified Reviewers.”

The instrument selected by Wilmington University as a required exit assessment for Graduate Certificate in ESOL Literacy is ETS Praxis II, Test Code #5361, ESOL. The minimum acceptable score is 149. The assessment is administered and scored by ETS. It is the candidate’s responsibility to have PRAXIS II scores sent to Wilmington University directly from ETS (Educational Testing Service).

Candidates must obtain passing scores for this exam in order to be eligible to petition for the Graduate Certificate of ESOL Literacy. Candidates must consult with program advisors and/or the program chair to obtain the most current information about this requirement.

Qualifications for Certificate

To qualify for the Graduate Certificate of ESOL Literacy, a candidate must meet all criteria noted in the Outcomes Assessment paragraph, above.

Candidates completing the five ­courses listed above with a GPA of 3.00 or and achieved on the Praxis Subject Assessment - English to Speakers of Other Languages (ETS Test # 5362) a passing score of 149 or higher will, upon application to the Wilmington University Office of the Registrar, be issued a Wilmington University Graduate Certificate in ESOL Literacy. Applications may be found on the Wilmington University Registrar’s webpage.

Delaware Certification - ESOL Teacher

Current Delaware Department of Education regulations (DE Title 14, §1562) permit individuals who hold an initial continuing, advanced license, or a Limited Standard, Standard or Professional Status Certificate issued by the Department prior to December 31, 2003, and who hold a Standard Certificate in a subject (content), grade level, or area, to apply for a State of Delaware Standard Certificate as an ESOL Teacher after successfully completing five (5) Wilmington University College of Education courses:

However, certification requirements are subject to change by the Delaware Department of Education and the Professional Standards Board. The most recent information about those requirements can be accessed at the Delaware Department of Education/Professional Standards Board website


Any changes in Delaware licensure and certification regulations could cause Wilmington University to make course and/or program adjustments in order to align with new or revised state requirements. Wilmington University reserves the right to change requirements to comply with any licensure/certification mandates of the Delaware Department of Education.

This information applies to students who enter this degree program during the 2018-2019 Academic Year. If you entered this degree program before the Fall 2018 semester, please refer to the academic catalog for the year you began your degree program.