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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 1: Write Policies and Procedures for Identification and Assessment of ELL Students

Guideline: Local education agencies (LEAs) must identify and assess all potential ELL students in a timely, valid, and reliable manner; provide a language support program; ensure students have a qualified teacher; avoid unnecessary segregation; and have equal opportunities to meaningfully participate in all curricular and extracurricular activities.




Foreign Language Assessment Directory

As noted at its website, "the Foreign Language Assessment Directory (FLAD) is a free, searchable directory of information on nearly 200 tests in over 90 languages. The FLAD serves as a starting point for teachers and educators to search for foreign language assessments."




Guidelines for the Assessment of ELLs

This 2009 ETS (Educational Testing Service) PDF offers guidelines for the assessment of English Language Learners.  ETS: Quality and Fairness

NCES: Testing Integrity Best Practices

Educators, parents, and the public depend on accurate, valid, reliable, and timely information about student academic performance. The availability of test data is important to improve instruction, identify the needs of individual students, implement targeted interventions, and help all students reach high levels of  chievement. Testing irregularities – breaches of test security or improper administration of academic testing – undermine efforts to use those data to improve student achievement. Unfortunately, there have been high-profile and systemic incidents of cheating in several school districts across the country in recent years.  This summary focuses on four areas related to testing integrity: (1) the prevention of irregularities in academic testing; (2) the detection and analysis of testing irregularities; (3) the response to an investigation of alleged and/or actual misconduct; and (4) testing integrity practices for technology-based ssessments 

OCR: Developing Programs for ELLs

This OCR website provides the process of developing an ELL program beginning with developing a plan outlineidentification, and then assessmentservices, and staffing. After implementation of the developed ELL program or plan, transitionevaluation, and reviewfollows.

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.


Colorín Colorado: Identifying Language and Academic Needs for Program Placement

This Colorín Colorado resource explains the roles that home language preference, educational background, English proficiency level, and academic content knowledge in English play in "identifying language and academic needs for program placement."

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.

Initial Assessment of Language, Literacy, and Content Knowledge

This resource from Brown University's Education Alliance "provides educators with strategies for assessing students when they first enroll in school, as well as suggestions for assessing language and literacy skills in students' first language (L1) and English."

Programs for English Language Learners Assessing Need


This Office for Civil Rights document offers guidance on establishing programs for ELLs. This section addresses and describes procedures for assessing ELL students.

Programs for English Language Learners Identification of Potential ELL Students

This OCR document offers guidance on establishing programs for ELLs. This section addresses and describes procedures for identifying ELL students enrolled in a school district.

The Assessment and Placement of Language Minority Students

This document provides information regarding the assessment and placement of language minority students.

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.