Kathyrn M. Doherty, a special assistant to Deputy Secretary of Education Raymond J. Simon, has been launching some projects under the LEP Partnership to guide states in how to include English-language learners in testing. But those projects will not be ready to “inform spring tests,” she told me in a phone interview for an update on the LEP Partnership that was published in Education Week this week. She said that the U.S. Department of Education has dispatched staff to help individual states with testing issues for the spring season upon request.
Ms. Doherty has engaged some well-known researchers to write guides for states, and those guides are expected to be ready for an LEP Partnership meeting this summer. The LEP partnership was announced last July by the U.S. Department of Education as a partnership between federal and state education officials to find better ways to include English-learners in testing.
Ms. Doherty said Charles Stansfield, the president and founder of Second Language Testing Inc., will help to write a guide on native-language assessments and another on how to provide translation or interpretation at the testing site. Mr. Stansfield’s company has created native-language assessments for a number of states. Edynn Sato, a researcher in assessment and English-language learners at West Ed, has been hired to help create a guide on “plain English” tests.
For a longer-term project, Ms. Doherty said, the LEP Partnership has asked Charlene Rivera, the director of George Washington University’s Center for Equity and Excellence in Education, and Jamal Abedi, a professor of education at the University of California, Davis, to help provide a handbook about how states can best use testing accommodations for English-language learners who are taking regular tests in English.
Testing is one of the issues likely to come up later this month when a subcommittee of the education and labor committee of the U.S. House of Representatives holds a hearing on the impact of the No Child Left Behind Act on English-language learners, which I mentioned in an earlier post. The date is set for March 23, and the panelists haven’t yet been selected.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.