RECOMMENDATIONS FOR LITERACY ASSESSMENT PRACTICES FOR ALL TEACHERS OF ELLS THAT WILL INFORM INSTRUCTION May 19, 2011 Resource: “Assessing English-Language Learners in Mainstream Classrooms” by Susan Davis Lenski, Fabiola Ehlers-Zavala, Mayra C. Daniel, and Xiaoqin Sun-Irminger Prepared by Central Intermediate Unit # 10 Consortium ESL Specialists: Elizabeth Whitehead, Rebecca Baney, and Victoria Butch – Bellefonte Area; Penny Diehl – Moshannon Valley; Rebecca Dugan – Curwensville Area; Crystal Graffius – Harmony Area; Sarah Lugg – Keystone Central; Sheila Riggs – Loyalsock Area; Jessica Ross – Clearfield Area; Jan Sawarynski – Bald Eagle Area; Ruth Vonada – Penns Valley Area; and Raisa Gray – Centre Learning Community Center ESL Facilitator: Bobbie Pfingstler, Ed.D. Central Intermediate Unit # 10 WHY IS ASSESSMENT IMPORTANT? • Assessment is a critical part of effective literacy development; therefore, it is important for classroom teachers to know how to evaluate ELL’s progress. • The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 established assessment mandates that all teachers must follow and because ELLs are included in the testing and must make Adequate Yearly Progress, quality assessment will help determine student needs. WHY IS ASSESSMENT IMPORTANT? (CONTINUED) • NCLB legislation also drives state standards. Similar to assessing monolingual learners, teachers must document evidence of student learning and progress in accordance to those standards. • Assessment of ELLS, however, is more critical and challenging given the wide range of educational experiences and academic backgrounds they bring to a school. WHY IS ASSESSMENT IMPORTANT? (CONTINUED) • Good assessment practices pave the way to making instructional and evaluative decisions. • Teachers need to consider all these educational requirements. • Whether ELLS are newcomers to the United States or from Generations of heritage language speakers, they are disadvantaged if assessment, evaluation, and the curriculum do not make allowances for their distinctive differences (Gay, 2001; Gitlin, Buendia, Crossland, & Doumbia, 2003). WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR ASSESSING STUDENTS? Assessment practices pave the way to making instructional decisions and evaluating. Consider all educational stakeholders when planning assessment of ELLs: Classroom Teacher Students themselves Parents Administrators Other teachers Consider state standards or TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) Standards PreK–12 English Language Proficiency Standards QUESTIONS TEACHERS NEED TO ASK WHEN ASSESSING ESL STUDENTS HOW CAN TEACHERS BETTER UNDERSTAND THE BACKGROUND OF THEIR ELL STUDENTS? English Language Learners come to our public schools with vastly different backgrounds. They fall into four categories: 1. Newly arrived students with adequate formal schooling; 2. Newly arrived students with limited formal schooling; 3. Students exposed to two languages simultaneously; 4. Long term English-language learners. 1. NEWLY ARRIVED WITH ADEQUATE FORMAL SCHOOLING 2. NEWLY ARRIVED STUDENTS WITH LIMITED FORMAL SCHOOLING 3. STUDENTS EXPOSED TO TWO LANGUAGES SIMULTANEOUSLY 4. LONG-TERM ENGLISHLANGUAGE LEARNERS REASONS FOR ASSESSING ELLS Purposes for assessment can be diverse. • For student placement • To make instructional decisions • For program development & evaluation It is critical that teachers identify the purpose for assessing before choosing the assessment instrument to be used. Does the assessment connect to the language & content standards? Is the assessment consistent with the teacher's instructional objectives & goals? Teachers can use the language & content standards as the basis for what ELLs ought to know, which in turn can provide the purposes for assessment. USING AUTHENTIC READING MATERIALS WHEN ASSESSING Literacy in English, for ELLs, can be an extension of their identity both in school and at home. Using authentic reading materials that connect to the students' real-life experiences affects ELLs in numerous and complex cultural, social and personal ways; Assessments should also be adjusted to the students English proficiency level—if it is not comprehensible it will only measure the vocabulary that a students does not know. Assessments results are more useful when using purposeful communication and authentic material. WHAT IS A PREDICTABILITY LOG? WHY WILL THE USE OF PREDICTABILITY LOGS HELP TEACHERS BETTER UNDERSTAND THE TYPES OF LITERACIES ELLS BRING TO THE CLASSROOM? • A PL helps teachers better understand their students’ prior literacy experiences and the factors that helped shape them. • Teachers should target questions that are most relevant for the students’ situations. • Data can come from interviewing students and their parents, observing in a classroom setting, and talking with others who know the student. WHAT ARE THE PREDICTABILITY LOG CATEGORIES? PREDICTABILITY LOG COMPONENTS PREDICTABILITY LOG COMPONENTS PREDICTABILITY LOG COMPONENTS PREDICTABILITY LOG COMPONENTS PREDICTABILITY LOG COMPONENTS PREDICTABILITY LOG COMPONENTS WHY ARE MULTI-DIMENSIONAL ASSESSMENTS IMPORTANT FOR YOUR ELL STUDENTS? Why use multidimensional assessments? GUIDING PRINCIPLES FOR ASSESSING ESL STUDENTS HURLEY AND BLAKE (2000) RECOMMENDED SUGGESTIONS FOR ALTERNATIVE ASSESSMENT PRACTICES RECOMMENDED SUGGESTIONS FOR ALTERNATIVE ASSESSMENT PRACTICES (CONTINUED) WHY ASSESS ELL STUDENTS IN NON-TRADITIONAL WAYS? WHAT ARE SOME EXAMPLES? Assessing ELL students in nontraditional ways (Continued) Modifying Traditional Assessments MODIFICATIONS APPROPRIATE FOR NEWCOMERS MODIFICATIONS APPROPRIATE FOR NEWCOMERS (CONTINUED) MODIFICATIONS FOR DEVELOPING ELL STUDENTS USING ELL STUDENTS’ NATIVE LANGUAGES AS AN ASSESSMENT RESOURCE Encouraging ELLs Self Assessment (CONTINUED) COLLABORATIVE ASSESSMENT EFFECTIVE TEACHING = EFFECTIVE ASSESSMENTS COLLABORATIVE ASSESSMENT AND THE COMMUNITY EFFECTIVE TEACHING = EFFECTIVE ASSESSMENTS REFERENCES Lenski, Ehlers-Zavala, Daniel, & Sun-Irminger X. (2006). Assessing English-language learners in mainstream classrooms. The Reading Teacher, 60 (1), 24-34. Afflerbach, P. (2010). Assessment. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.