The House Education Committee has released a draft of a reauthorized No Child Left Behind Act that provides both added flexibility and a couple of new requirements concerning how schools educate and assess English-language learners. For an overview of the draft, read the article by my colleagues David J. Hoff and Alyson Klein.
Among the added flexibility is the opportunity for school districts to test ELLs in their native language for up to five years—up from three years in the current law—with the option of extending that testing for two additional years for children on a case-by-case basis.
The draft of the revised NCLB, released yesterday by Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., and Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., also contains a provision that would let school districts use their state English-language-proficiency tests for determining adequate yearly progress in reading for ELLs with the lowest levels of English-language proficiency for a period of two years after enactment of the reauthorization.
But the draft of the federal education law also includes new requirements. One of them is that states with more than 10 percent of ELLs who share the same language will be required to create valid and reliable native-language assessments for that language group. (Last time I checked, in January 2006, only ten states were using such assessments.)
Also, states will have to show in their plans submitted to the U.S. Department of Education how they will prepare teachers to use testing accommodations for ELLs appropriately.
What feedback do you have for the representatives in the U.S. Congress and their aides who created this draft? They welcome comments sent to ESEA.Comments@mail.house.gov (deadline is Sept. 5).
Also, let us know here on this blog what you think of the proposed provisions, so we can have a discussion about them.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.