Publications & Resources

Providing Validity Evidence to Improve the Assessment of English Language Learners

Aug 2008

Mikyung Kim Wolf, Joan L. Herman, Jinok Kim, Jamal Abedi, Seth Leon, Noelle Griffin, Patina L. Bachman, Sandy M. Chang, Tim Farnsworth, Hyekyung Jung, Julie Nollner, and Hye Won Shin

This research project addresses the validity of assessments used to measure the performance of English language learners (ELLs), such as those mandated by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB, 2002). The goals of the research are to help educators understand and improve ELL performance by investigating the validity of their current assessments, and to provide states with much needed guidance to improve the validity of their English language proficiency (ELP) and academic achievement assessments for ELL students.

The research has three phases. In the first phase, the researchers analyze existing data and documents to understand the nature and validity of states’ current practices and their priority needs. This first phase is exploratory in that the researchers identify key validity issues by examining the existing data and formulate research areas where further investigation is needed for the second phase. In the second phase of the research, the researchers will deepen their analysis of the areas identified from Phase I findings. In the third phase of the research, the researchers will develop specific guidelines on which states may base their ELL assessment policy and practice. The present report focuses on the researchers’ Phase I research activities and results. The report also discusses preliminary implications and recommendations for improving ELL assessment systems.

Wolf, M. K., Herman, J. L., Kim, J., Abedi, J., Leon, S., Griffin, N., … Shin, H. W. (2008). Providing validity evidence to improve the assessment of English language learners (CRESST Report 738). Los Angeles: University of California, Los Angeles, National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST).