Publications & Resources

Issues in Assessing English Language Learners: English Language Proficiency Measures and Accommodation Uses–Practice Review

Jan 2008

Mikyung Kim Wolf, Jenny C. Kao, Noelle Griffin, Joan L. Herman, Patina L. Bachman, Sandy M. Chang, and Tim Farnsworth

The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) has had a great impact on states’ policies in assessing English language learner (ELL) students. The legislation requires states to develop or adopt sound assessments in order to validly measure the ELL students’ English language proficiency, as well as content knowledge and skills. While states have moved rapidly to meet these requirements, they face challenges to validate their current assessment and accountability systems for ELL students, partly due to the lack of resources. Considering the significant role of an assessment in guiding decisions about organizations and individuals, it is of paramount importance to establish a valid assessment system. In light of this, we reviewed the current literature and policy regarding ELL assessment in order to inform practitioners of the key issues to consider in their validation process. We developed a set of guidelines and recommendations for practitioners to use as a resource to improve their ELL assessment systems. We have compiled a series of three reports. The present report is the second component of the series, providing a comprehensive picture of states’ current policies related to ELL assessment. The areas reviewed include the procedures of ELL identification and redesignation, the characteristics of English language proficiency assessments, including validity information, and the use of accommodations in the assessment of content knowledge.

Wolf, M. K., Kao, J. C., Griffin, N., Herman, J. L., Bachman, P. L., Chang, S. M., & Farnsworth, T. (2008). Issues in assessing English language learners: English language proficiency measures and accommodation uses– Practice review (CRESST Report 732). Los Angeles: University of California, Los Angeles, National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST).