Publications & Resources

The Effects of Accommodations on the Assessment of Limited English Proficient (LEP) Students in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)

Sep 2001

Jamal Abedi, Carol Lord, Christy Kim Boscardin and Judy Miyoshi

Recent federal and state legislation, including Goals 2000 and the Improving America’s Schools Act (IASA), call for inclusion of all students in large-scale assessments such as the National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP). This includes students with limited English proficiency (LEP). However, we have clear evidence from recent research that students’ language background factors impact their performance on content area assessments. For students with limited English proficiency, the language of the test item can be a barrier, preventing them from demonstrating their knowledge of the content area. Various forms of testing accommodations have been proposed for LEP students. Empirical studies demonstrate that accommodations can increase test scores for both LEP and non-LEP students; furthermore, the provision of accommodations has helped to increase the rate of inclusion for LEP students in the NAEP and other large-scale assessments.

The focus of this study was on the validity and feasibility of accommodation strategies on small-scale level. In order to test for validity, both LEP and non-LEP students were tested under accommodated and non-accommodated conditions, and their performance was compared. Feasibility was a key consideration; we selected accommodation strategies for which implementation would be practical in large-scale assessments. Since previous studies have identified the non-technical vocabulary of test items as a source of difficulty for LEP students, we chose two forms of accommodation targeting this issue.

Abedi, J., Lord, C., Boscardin, C. K., & Miyoshi, J. (2001). The effects of accommodations on the assessment of Limited English Proficient (LEP) students in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) (CSE Report 537). Los Angeles: University of California, Los Angeles, National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST).