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ERIC Number: ED520528
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 17
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 18
Improving the Validity of English Language Learner Assessment Systems. Full Report. Policy Brief 10, Spring 2010
Wolf, Mikyung Kim; Herman, Joan L.; Dietel, Ronald
National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST)
English Language Learners (ELLs) are the fastest growing group of students in American public schools. According to Payan and Nettles (2008), the ELL population doubled in 23 states between 1995 and 2005. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that by 2050, the Hispanic school-age population will exceed the non-Hispanic white school-age public school population (Fry & Gonzalez, 2008). Amidst these dramatic increases, ELL achievement remains among the lowest of all students. For example, on the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 72% of 8th-grade ELL students scored below basic in mathematics as compared to 26% of non-ELL students (National Center for Education Statistics, 2009). Despite 8 years of strong No Child Left Behind (NCLB, 2002) accountability provisions, ELL academic achievement remains one of the greatest challenges confronting states, school districts, and schools. Drawing from a 3-year research effort funded by the U.S. Department of Education, UCLA's National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST) has developed a list of five priorities for improving the validity of assessment systems for ELL students. The authors define validity as the degree to which an assessment system produces accurate information about ELL students' performance and provides a sound basis for policy decision-making. The authors' recommendations include improvements in: (1) English Language Proficiency Standards and Assessments; (2) ELL Classification and Reclassification; (3) Content Assessments for ELL Students; (4) ELL Test Accommodations; and (5) Teacher Capacity and ELL Students' Opportunity to Learn. Recognizing that economic conditions across the United States are challenging and that states are often in different places on their ELL programs, the authors have prioritized each recommendation as 1, 2, or 3 (with 1 being the highest) and estimated resource requirements as high, moderate, or low, to assist states and school districts in improving ELL assessment policies and practices. Recommendations are based on a series of CRESST research reports from the 3-year project and comprehensive input and feedback from state and school district ELL experts and policy makers at the 2009 Council of Chief State School Officers Assessment Conference. Research findings from the project that led to the specific recommendations are described throughout this document (see Appendix A for the list of CRESST reports including the 3-year project research). The authors conclude with their recommendations for new research and an urgent call to action. They encourage states and school districts to use this document as a guide for discussion and action. Both an action guide (Appendix B) and a recommended readings list (Appendix C) are included at the end of this policy brief to help states and school districts discuss, evaluate, and improve the validity of their ELL accountability systems. (Contains 3 figures and 2 tables.) [For "Improving the Validity of English Language Learner Assessment Systems. Executive Summary. Policy Brief 10, Spring 2010," see ED520529.]
National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST). 300 Charles E Young Drive N, GSE&IS Building 3rd Floor, Mailbox 951522, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1522. Tel: 310-206-1532; Fax: 310-825-3883; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Department of Education (ED)
Authoring Institution: National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing