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Webinar to Feature Math and Science Test Items for ELLs

A free Webinar tomorrow afternoon will explore considerations for testing English-language learners in math and science. One of the guests is Rebecca Kopriva, a senior scientist at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research. The event is being hosted by the National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition.

Kopriva has developed some test items for math and science that fall into what some may call the "really cool" category because they enable ELLs to show what they know and can do by clicking and dragging images on a computer screen. She's created them as part of a project called Obtaining Necessary Parity through Academic Rigor, or ONPAR, which has a Web site where you can see a sample of some of the items.

I saw a few of the test items when Kopriva showed them off at a meeting in late September hosted by the Council of Chief State School Officers about ELLs and common standards on Sept. 27. Studies show that both ELLs and non-ELLs score well using the test items, she said then. "That's huge. We are not losing anything."

She demonstrated, for example, how ELLs can be assessed on what they know about the mass of different materials by clicking and dragging images for sand, salt, and water. As she moved the items around herself, she said, "Do non-ELL kids love this? Oh yeah."

She'll be showing some samples of the math and science test items on the Webinar as well, she told me in an e-mail.

Tune in for the Webinar tomorrow, Oct. 29, from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., Eastern time. (If you click on the link to the Webinar, you can't return directly back to this blog.)

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