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A Closer Look at ELL Assessment Group Led by Oregon

Thanks to the folks at the K-12 Center at Educational Testing Service, we now have the best snapshot to date of what the group of states known as ELPA 21 have planned for developing a new English-language proficiency test that will be directly connected to the language demands in the Common Core State Standards.

Remember that ELPA 21—or the English Language Proficiency Assessment for the 21st Century consortium—started as a group of dozen states that landed a $6.3 million grant last fall from the U.S. Department of Education to develop the new test. It is one of two groups of states creating a new assessment to measure the progress of English-learners. Oregon is the lead state in the consortium.

The other group—the 31-state consortium known as ASSETS, or Assessment Services Supporting ELs through Technology Systems—is being developed on behalf of member states by the World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment Consortium, or WIDA, based at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

ELPA 21 is at least a year behind ASSETS, which won its grant in 2011. It has also had a bit of upheaval in its first months when original member California decided to withdraw, taking its 1.4 million English-learners from the group. But 11 states remain, including ELL-rich Florida.

The ETS brief offers ELPA 21's timeline for test development, a description of its governance and accountability, and a graphic representation of the components of the assessment system the group is designing.

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