The common math assessments under development by PARCC will be translated into Spanish and possibly other languages, but whether English-language learners will have access to non-English versions will depend on the state in which they live.
The governing board of PARCC—the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers—unanimously approved a policy last week that will allow test designers to have the math assessment translated into Spanish and other languages that member states need. Several states in the consortium have laws and regulations that forbid the use of languages other than English to test students. But eight of the 19 member states—Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and Rhode Island—said they need a Spanish-language math assessment.
New York, which offers several non-English content assessments, said it would need additional languages, as did Colorado, Illinois, and Ohio. Among those languages are: Korean, Chinese, Haitian-Creole, and Russian.
Florida, whose future commitment to PARCC and its tests is murky, was not on the list of states that want translated math assessments. Home to one of the biggest populations of English-language learners in the country, the state currently provides content tests only in English.
Arizona law prohibits the use of languages other than English for assessment.
PARCC officials said they will not develop translated versions of the English/language arts tests.
In June, PARCC approved testing supports for English-learners that include having test directions clarified for students in their native language by a test administrator for both the math and English/language arts assessments, although that is recommended only for ELLs with low levels of English proficiency. Extended time will be available to all ELLs, regardless of proficiency. And extended time will be available to all ELLs, regardless of proficiency.
States that end up using translated PARCC math tests will share the costs of developing them.
A version of this article appeared in the October 02, 2013 edition of Education Week as Common Math Tests to Be Translated Into Spanish