Publications & Resources

Accommodation Strategies for English Language Learners on Large-Scale Assessments: Student Characteristics and Other Considerations

Oct 1997

Frances A. Butler and Robin Stevens

Nationwide there is strong impetus for higher standards of learning as well as for standards-based assessments that measure the progress of all students towards those standards. However, students for whom English is a second language are often excluded from large-scale assessments. It is thought that one means of achieving the goal of inclusion for all students is through the use of assessment accommodations with students who have not yet mastered English. This paper addresses the use of accommodation strategies in large-scale assessments with these students. An overview of accommodation issues is presented along with current practices. The authors argue that there is a need to determine the effectiveness of using accommodations and then to establish a procedure for making decisions in an informed and systematic way, including determining eligibility for accommodations. A model of factors that impact the academic performance of English language learners is provided to illustrate how both individual differences and group similarities can inform the use accommodations. Finally, steps and challenges toward creating sound eligibility procedures and accommodation guidelines are discussed.

Butler, F. A., & Stevens, R. (1997). Accommodation strategies for English language learners on large-scale assessments: Student characteristics and other considerations (CSE Report 448). Los Angeles: University of California, Los Angeles, National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST).