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States Collaborate on English-Language Proficiency


About half the states in the nation are using one of four tests created by four consortia since 2002 to meet English-language-proficiency testing requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act. A report edited by Jamal Abedi, a professor of education at the University of California, Davis, released today tells a great deal about those tests. Mr. Abedi says they are a big improvement over tests typically used prior to NCLB in that they assess "academic English," the kind of English children need in order to learn subjects in school. (For a Nov. 28 Education Week article about the report, click here.)

The World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment consortium of states, for instance, created a test, ACCESS for ELLs, that has been selected by 15 states—and Virginia just decided to adopt that test next school year as well.

But some other states selected new English-proficiency tests put on the market by commercial developers. That doesn't mean, however, they can't have a consortium, too.

This week, six states that have all adopted a commercial test, LAS Links, developed by CTB/McGraw-Hill, joined together to form a consortium, the English Language Proficiency Collaboration and Research Consortium. The six states are Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Indiana, Maryland, and Nevada.

Beth Celva, the director of the unit of student assessment for the Colorado Department of Education, told me today in a phone interview that she's hoping the collaboration will help the six states share data about student achievement. She's particularly interested in information about ELLs in high school or ELLs who have disabilities, she said.

Marisol Enriquez, an assessment consultant for the same education department, noted that she's hoping to learn more from other states about how to train teachers to administer LAS Links.

And they're also interested in gaining more insight into the question that practically every state seems to be asking these days: What's the relationship between how well ELLs score on an English-proficiency test and how well they perform on other mandatory state assessments, such as for math or reading?


Hi Beth and Marisol,
While I'm afraid I'm not able to write a detailed message today, I can offer you a resource for your question, "What's the relationship between how well ELLs score on an English-proficiency test and how well they perform on other mandatory state assessments, such as for math or reading?"

If you haven't already, you might want to check out:

Butler, Stevens, and Castellon's Chapter 2 in the 2007 book, *The Language Demands of School:
Putting Academic English to the Test*. The chapter is entitled: "ELLs and Standardized Assessments: The Interaction between Language Proficiency and Performance on Standardized Tests. it has interesting insights on this question.

See http://yalepress.yale.edu/yupbooks/book.asp?isbn=9780300109467


Thank you for on your articles on testing and reclassification and for posting links to Dr. Abedi's report and to the related consortia. This information will be very helpful to us in Florida, where we as currently reviewing policies that greatly affect the lives of English language learners. We anticipate that the Department of Education will hold rule adoption hearings in mid-December. We are grateful that we will have an opportunity to review how other states have used the results of their new tests, and with what results, as we consider the probable impact of CELLA on students in our state.

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