A Washington Post reporter and photographer visited command central in Fairfax County for evaluation of Virginia’s portfolio tests. (Hat tip to This Week in Education.) In Virginia, a portfolio test is used both for some special education students and some English-language learners for accountability purposes under the No Child Left Behind Act.
The photos and story give the impression that scoring portfolio tests, in contrast with a state’s regular multiple-choice tests, is time-consuming and expensive.
Federal officials gave Virginia permission to use a portfolio test with some English-language learners after they told the state it could no longer use an English-language-proficiency test as a substitute for the state’s regular reading test for ELLs.
A number of states (including Arkansas, Illinois, and New York) have had to drop the use of alternative tests for ELLs because federal officials found the tests weren’t comparable to regular state tests.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.