Education A National Roundup

Va. School District Balking at Rules on Testing English-Learners

By Mary Ann Zehr — January 17, 2007 1 min read

The Fairfax County, Va., school board is considering a resolution to refuse to comply with a requirement by the federal government to change how the district assesses some of its beginning English-language learners under the No Child Left Behind Act.

Virginia school districts have been using a state English-language proficiency test instead of the state’s regular reading test to calculate whether beginning English-language learners are making adequate yearly progress under the law.

The U.S. Department of Education has told Virginia that this school year, it must start testing all students with limited English proficiency who have been in the state for one year with the regular state reading test for accountability purposes.

The resolution, expected to be voted on this month, would authorize administrators in the 164,000-student Fairfax school system in suburban Washington to continue their current testing practice for beginning English-language learners and says the district “will continue to work with other Virginia school divisions to advocate collectively for fair, valid, reliable, and appropriate assessment for all LEP students.”

A version of this article appeared in the January 17, 2007 edition of Education Week