Illinois Drops Alternative Test for ELLs

By Mary Ann Zehr — November 05, 2007 1 min read
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Illinois has stopped using an alternative mathematics and reading test for English-language learners because state officials haven’t been able to persuade the U.S. Department of Education that the test is comparable to the state’s regular tests.

The Illinois Measure of Annual Growth in English, or IMAGE, uses simplified English to test ELLs in math and reading. Illinois developed the language arts part of the test in 1996 and several years later added the math part.

Matthew Vanover, a spokesman for the Illinois board of education, said the state will eventually develop another alternative test for Illinois’ 36,000 English-learners but, in the meantime, they will take regular state tests with accommodations.

Several other states—including Arkansas and Wisconsin—stopped using their alternative tests for ELLs after they ran into issues in showing the federal government that the tests were comparable to regular tests. At the same time, the Education Department has approved such tests in North Carolina and Virginia.

Click here for a message from Illinois Superintendent Christopher A. Koch, on the fate of the IMAGE test, that he sent to educators in his state.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.