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Research on Testing Accommodations Has Been Posted

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In-depth research on testing accommodations for English-language learners, which I wrote about on this blog last week, has now been posted by George Washington University's Center for Equity and Excellence in Education. Find it here.

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Hi Mary Ann,
There are a number of key findings Charlene Rivera, Barbara Acosta, and I would like to highlight for your audience.

  • We're now using a narrower operational definition for an ELL-responsive accommodation. (An ELL-responsive accommodation is likely to reduce construct-irrelevant variance due to language and addresses the linguistic needs of ELLs.

  • Of the accommodations previously categorized as indirect linguistic support, only extended time is still considered ELL-responsive. (See note on test administration practices below to see where we believe the others fit.)

  • Accommodating ELLs and accommodating students with disabilities are not the same. Language acquisition needs are framed differently from disabilities needs. In fact, the normal process of second language acquisition is often confused as a disability by some practitioners.

  • Not all adjustments to testing conditions "qualify" as accommodations. In fact, some states list test administration practices separately. Most of the test administration practices come from Timing/Scheduling and Setting categories. They are either listed in a general set of test administration practices allowable to all students or within the directions of ELL-responsive accommodations.

  • Accommodations in state policies must meet standards of validity and reliability established in the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing. Policy language. Definitions, descriptions, and discussions of accommodations needs to provide clear guidance for standardizing implementation.

  • ELLs are heterogeneous. ELLs have different levels of English language proficiency and different levels of literacy in English and the native language. A “one-size-fits-all” approach to accommodating cannot be used to meet the needs of such a diverse population. (The Best Practices study explores this issue in more detail.)

  • It is important to ensure quality and reliability of implementation of accommodations. State data needs to be collected on the impact of ELL-responsive accommodations on student scores and fidelity of implementation by school-based decision makers and test administrators.

Best to you,

Lynn

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