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ERIC Number: EJ895688
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Aug-25
Pages: 2
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0277-4232
Researchers: ELL Surveys Are Flawed
Zehr, Mary Ann
Education Week, v30 n1 p1, 21 Aug 2010
The author reports on a review of state policies by researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, which raises questions about the validity of the use of home-language surveys as a step to identify students eligible for special help in learning English. While it's ubiquitous in schools across the country, the practice of educators' giving a home-language survey to parents or students who are believed to speak a language other than English at home is not mandated by the federal government. Federal law does, however, require that states somehow identify students who need extra services to learn English, and many schools use such a survey to find out whether children's English skills should be tested. In their study, conducted with a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Alison L. Bailey, a professor of education for UCLA, and Kimberly R. Kelly, a doctoral student in education at the university, spell out how home-language surveys can both underidentify and overidentify students who need support to learn English. The study was published as a "white paper" by "Evaluating the Validity of English-Language-Proficiency Assessments", or EVEA, the partnership that got the study grant. The wording of questions on the surveys and how the questionnaires are carried out vary so much among states, and the validity of the information gathered from them is so unproved, that the researchers suggest it might be best for home-language surveys to be abandoned.
Editorial Projects in Education. 6935 Arlington Road Suite 100, Bethesda, MD 20814-5233. Tel: 800-346-1834; Tel: 301-280-3100; e-mail: customercare@epe.org; Web site: http://www.edweek.org/info/about/
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Arizona; California; New York