The recent issue of Educational Assessment, a journal published by Routledge, contains new research on assessment of English-language learners. The study that seems to break the most ground looks at the validity for ELLs of one state’s math and science assessments for grades 5 and 8 (the researchers don’t name the state). That study’s findings are reported in the article called, “Validity and Fairness of State Standards-Based Assessments for English-Language Learners.”
Essentially, the math and science tests were found to be fair for ELLs, with or without accommodations. At the same time, the use of bilingual glossaries or word lists were shown to be a beneficial accommodation for English-language learners, particularly at the 8th grade level. The researchers concluded that the use of bilingual glossaries or word lists is a more effective accommodation for ELLs than translating test directions orally into students’ native language. The researchers write in their summary that they’d very much like to see their methods for examining the reliability of tests for ELLs picked up by other researchers and applied to data from other grades, subjects, and states.
Only a limited number of studies have been conducted on the effectiveness of testing accommodations for ELLs, so here’s one more that is being added to the mix.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.