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ERIC Number: ED539753
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Oct
Pages: 67
Abstractor: ERIC
Descriptive Study of State Assessment Policies for Accommodating English Language Learners
Willner, Lynn Shafer; Rivera, Charlene; Acosta, Barbara D.
George Washington University Center for Equity and Excellence in Education
In 2006, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) conducted a study of the U.S. Department of Education's (ED)'s efforts to support states in meeting the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) (Ashby, 2006). The study found the requirement to include all students, including English language learners (ELLs) in standards and assessment systems, a continuing challenge for states. The GAO report concluded that states needed more knowledge about how to assess ELLs' academic achievement and recommended that ED provide direct assistance to states. In response, ED established the LEP Partnership. Through the partnership, state representatives working on issues of assessment and accountability are convened. These sessions provide a forum through which ED and the states can address questions and issues, receive expert guidance, and learn from one another regarding the assessment of Limited English Proficient (LEP) students, or ELLs as they are referred to throughout this paper. At the first LEP Partnership meeting in October 2006, state education agency (SEA) staff concurred that it would be beneficial to collaborate in the refinement of state assessment policies addressing the accommodation of ELLs in state content assessments. In response to this recommendation, ED charged The George Washington University Center for Equity and Excellence in Education (GW-CEEE) to develop a Guide for SEAs to use to improve state policies for accommodating ELLs. As a foundation for developing the Guide, this study of state assessment policies examined the number and types of accommodations specified for ELLs. It provides an in depth analysis of the extent to which state assessment policies address the accommodation of ELLs. This paper provides a review of literature that provides background on the ELL student population shift and ongoing gaps in student achievement which have widened and deepened the challenges faced by US educators. It offers an overview of the legislative mandates for the inclusion and accommodation of ELLs in state assessments and the supporting policy research examining state policies for including and accommodating ELLs. It concludes with an overview of the research base on specific accommodations, research on the assignment of accommodations for particular content assessments, and research on guidance for monitoring the accommodation of ELLs. (Contains 6 figures and 18 tables.) [Funding for this paper was provided by the U.S. Department of Education's (ED) LEP Partnership.]
George Washington University Center for Equity and Excellence in Education. 1555 Wilson Boulevard Suite 515, Arlington, VA 22209. Tel: 800-925-3223; Tel: 703-528-3588; Fax: 703-528-5973; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Department of Education (ED)
Authoring Institution: George Washington University Center for Equity and Excellence in Education
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001