BICS vs. CALP..What do they mean again??

There are so many acronyms in education.  I think two of the most important ones in thinking about language education are BICS and CALP.  Take a look at the chart below to start thinking about these 2 different kinds of language that language learners produce:


Why is it important to know the difference between these two kinds of language?  Well, it helps us understand why a learner who has been in the United States for 2 years can speak English in informal settings with relative comfort and ease, but has a lot of difficulty reading the history textbook and writing an essay in formal English.  This difference also tells us that even with concerted effort to learn a language it may take 5-7 years before a learner reaches academic proficiency.  We need to give students a lot of time to learn language so that they can be academically proficient.  How does your program address the research on BICS and CALP?

Tricia Gallagher-Geurtsen
Tricia Gallagher-Geurtsen


1 Comment


November 10, 2014

THANK YOU! I’m looking for a good explanation for parents, and this has Spanish too! Awesome.

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