ERIC Number: ED483512
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2004
CRESST Policy Brief 7. Winter 2004
Abedi, Jamal; Dietel, John.
Center for Research on Evaluation Standards and Student Testing CRESST
The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) requires that all children, including English language learners (ELLs), reach high standards by demonstrating proficiency in English language arts and mathematics by 2014. Schools and districts must help ELL students, among other subgroups, make continuous progress toward this goal, as measured by performance on state tests, or risk serious consequences. Through these mandates, NCLB establishes high expectations for all students and seeks to reduce the achievement gap between advantaged and disadvantaged students. These are worthy goals, which require extraordinary improvement in student learning. The challenges for English language learners are especially difficult, involving both educational and technical issues, including: (1) Historically low ELL performance and slow improvement. State tests show that ELL students? school performance is far below that of other students, oftentimes 20 to 30 percentage points, and usually shows little improvement across many years. (2) Measurement accuracy. CRESST research shows that the language demands of tests negatively influence accurate measurement of ELL performance. For the ELL student, tests measure both achievement and language ability. (3) Instability of the ELL student subgroup. The goal of redesignating high performing ELL students as language-proficient students causes ELL high achievers to exit the ELL subgroup. The consequence is downward pressure on ELL test scores worsened by the addition of new ELL students, who are typically low achieving. (4) Factors outside of a school?s control. CRESST research shows substantial nonschool effects on student learning even within ELL subgroups. Schools are therefore unable to control all factors related to student achievement. These ELL issues are described in the remainder of this brief, together with some suggestions to help schools meet the NCLB goals.
Descriptors: Federal Legislation, Limited English Speaking, Achievement Tests, Student Evaluation, Academic Standards, Language Proficiency, Academic Achievement, Test Bias, Mathematics Achievement, Language Arts
Center for the Study of Evaluation (CSE), National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST), Graduate School of Education & Information Studies, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1522. Tel: 310-206-1532.
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Sponsor: Institute for Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education
Authoring Institution: California Univ., Los Angeles. Center for the Study of Evaluation.