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English Language Learner KnowledgeBase for Administrators & Teachers

This KnowledgeBase archive includes content and external links that were accurate and relevant as of September 30, 2019.

The English Language Learner (ELL) KnowledgeBase for Administrators and Teachers is an online resource supporting both the administration, teaching and execution of programs for English learning students. It offers resources related to Office for Civil Rights (OCR) requirements and the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

Task 5: Assure Participation in State Mandated Annual Assessments

Guideline: The ESEA and its regulations allow States flexibility in establishing goals and targets for the progress and performance of ELs toward attaining ELP over time that take into account the diverse characteristics of their EL students. It also requires each State to include an indicator for progress in attaining ELP in its statewide accountability systems (ESEA section 1111(c)(4)(B)(iv); 34 C.F.R. 200.14(b)(4)).




A Practical Guide to Standards-Based Assessment in the Native Language in ESSA

Standards and Assessments: A Practical Guide to Standards-Based Assessment in the Native Language in ESSA is reference on page 20.

Standards and Assessments

This document offers the U.S. Department of Education's draft guidance on the assessment requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act addressing ELL students. The sections provided pertain to ELL and migrant students as well as flexibility and accountability for ELL students.

Standards for Test Administration

This ETS 2014 resource contains excerpts from the Code of Fair Testing Practices in Education which lists obligations for informing test takers and/or their parents and guardians about the assessment to be given and the use of the data gathered from the assessment process.

Source: Excerpts from the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testingprepared by the Committee to Develop Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing of the American Educational Research Association, the American Psychological Association, and the National Council on Measurement in Education, 1985. The purpose of the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing is provide criteria for the evaluation of tests, testing practices, and the effects of test use. Part VI contain standards regarding test administration, scoring, and reporting, as well as standards for the protection of test takers' rights. This excerpt is taken from Chapter 15, Test Administration, Scoring, and Reporting.

In typical applications, test administrators should follow carefully the standardized procedures for administration and scoring specified by the test publisher. Specifications regarding instructions to test takers, time limits, the form of item presentation or response, and test materials or equipment should be strictly observed. Exemptions should be made only on the basis of carefully considered professional judgment, primarily in clinical applications.

The testing environment should be one of reasonable comfort and with minimal distractions. Testing material should be readable and understandable. In computerized testing, items displayed on a screen should be legible and free from glare, and the terminal should be properly positioned.

Testing sessions should be monitored where appropriate both to assist the test taker when a need arises and to maintain proper administrative procedures. Among the conditions that should be avoided in testing situations are:

  • Noise
  • Disruption in the testing area
  • Extremes of temperature
  • Inadequate work space
  • Illegible material, and so forth.

In the context of computer-administered tests, the novelty of the presentation may have an unknown effort on the test administration.

Standards for Testing Bilingual Persons

Originally produced by the Evaluation Assistance Center-West, the Standards for Testing Bilingual Persons is a useful resource to share with the school staff members responsible for testing ELL students. Refer to the ERIC/CUE Digest No. 65.


Practical Tips

Leveling the Playing Field for English Language Learners: Increasing Participation in State and Local Assessments through Accommodations

This resource from the former Region III Comprehensive Center provides practical guidance for using test preparation strategies with English language learner students as a form of accommodation for standardized tests.



ERIC Digest No.65: Assessing Bilingual Students for Placement and Instruction

This ERIC/CUE Digest No. 65 provides instructions for assessing bilingual students for placement.  Standardized achievement and aptitude tests may be of very limited value in making placement or instructional decisions about bilingual students. The practice of categorizing standardized test scores by ethnic groups obscures the difficulties of administering and interpreting tests taken by bilinguals. Individuals who are bilingual have two language systems that overlap and are distinct; both are relied upon in a variety of ways, depending on the linguistic and communicative demands of everyday settings.

English Language Proficiency in the Nation

Map to access an array of interactive data displays, and links to resources, on English learners (ELLs) and Title III implementation in every state.

How States Should Redesign their Accountability Systems Under ESSA

In annual assessment of ELLS, this web site shows how states should redesign their accountability systems under ESSA.

Oral Native American Language Assessment in ESSA by Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO)

This link is to the BIE (Bureau of Indian Education) Oral Native American Language Assessment presentation in ESSA given at the CCSSO National Conference on student assessment on July 27th, 2012.

Many Native American Tribes have languages that are traditionally oral. During this CCSSO conference, members discussed work that the Bureau of Indian Education has sponsored to support oral language proficiency within Tribes. An overview of the current literature relevant to oral language assessment, both domestically and internationally was reviewed. Discussion describing the work that has been done with several Tribes to promote native language proficiency, with specific examples of goals and challenges faced in teaching and learning oral language in a cultural context. In order for language to be preserved as an integral part of culture, children are expected to be conversant in the language. Due to many historical events including fragmenting of populations and intentional extermination of native language use in Indian boarding schools, oral native languages have seen a marked decline in proficient speakers in the past century. The Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) has sponsored this project which includes an examination of oral language assessment of indigenous languages internationally, with a focus on applying lessons learned to the development of oral language assessments for US Tribal schools.

Native American Tribes involved in major tasks for this project include: the Laguna Pueblo Tribe, the Miccosukee Tribe, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, the Navajo Nation, and the Lakota, Nakota, and Dakota Tribes.

Serving English Language Learners with Disabilities - Access to Services

This document contains a link to the Illinois manual titled 'Serving English Language Learners with Disabilities.' While this manual is written as a resource for Illinois educators, all educators will find the general information it contains useful. The identified chapters address a number of issues associated with ensuring ELL students access to special programs.

Serving English Language Learners with Disabilities - Placement of LEP Students

This document contains a link to the Illinois manual titled "Serving English Language Learners with Disabilities." While this manual is written as a resource for Illinois educators, all educators will find the general information it contains useful.

The Use of Tests When Making High Stakes Decisions for Students - Test Measurement Principles

This Office for Civil Rights resource guide contains a chapter on test measurement principles as they relate to English language learners.


Hope for English Language Learners

This January 2016 U.S. News and World Report article explores how America recently passed a remarkable milestone in public education: For the first time, minority students – Black, Hispanic, Asian-American and Native-American students – now make up a majority of our public school students. This increase in racial and ethnic diversity has been accompanied by an increase in language diversity, as the number of students learning English as a second language has grown dramatically in recent decades. In 1990, for example,one in 20 public schoolstudents were an ELL. Today, this figure is closer to one in nine, or 4.5 million students in total. Nearly three-quartersof public schools enroll at least one ELL.

The contents of this website were developed under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education and are intended for general reference purposes only. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education or the Center, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government. Some resources on this site require Adobe Acrobat Reader. This website archive includes content and external links that were accurate and relevant as of September 30, 2019.