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States with Alternative Tests for ELLs

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Staff members of the U.S. Department of Education have provided me with a factual statement about states that have alternative tests for English-language learners for calculating adequate yearly progress under the No Child Left Behind Act—and states that have dropped such tests. They provided me with this statement in response to questions I had about whether federal education officials had told Oregon it had to suspend use of one of its Spanish-language tests. Here's the statement:

There have been a few states that stopped using a specialized assessment for ELL students because the test did not meet the statutory requirements. Those states would include: Illinois, Wisconsin, Arkansas, New York, Indiana, and Tennessee. There are a number of states that have specialized assessments for ELL students that do meet the statutory requirements and have been approved for use in Title I accountability—Oregon, Texas, and New York are among those that have native-language assessments and Virginia, Minnesota, and North Carolina all have alternate assessments for ELL students that meet all requirements.

In speaking about Oregon's situation, the department staff said simply that the department's Title I team recently completed a monitoring visit to Oregon, and the monitoring report will be online here around the first part of the new year.

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Simplified English tests are probably the best way to test ESOL students' competency in content areas. Too bad, the federal government makes every excuse not to allow it.

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