State Assessment Decision-making Processes for ELLs with Disabilities

This brief from the National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO) presents information about assessment decision-making processes for English language learners (ELLs) with disabilities. Topics addressed in the brief include: (a) required assessment decision-making processes, (b) experts’ recommendations about assessment decision making for ELLs with disabilities, (c) resources available to guide assessment decision making, (d) standards-based IEPs, and (e) recommended participants on the decision-making team. Because there is still “a great deal of confusion in the field about interpreting existing policies for ELLs with disabilities” (p. 5) and the challenge to “create an effective assessment decision-making team that represents educators who know all the needs of an ELL with a disability” (p. 5), this brief focuses on the six key areas in which policymakers should provide guidance for educators.

Content Comments 

The goals of this resource are well defined early in the brief and each is directly addressed sequentially. Because this is one of the few guidance publications on this topic and was produced by a well-recognized organization, it helps to fill a void in the assessment of ELLs with disabilities. However, while the basic NCEO principles and recommendations are useful, they could have been better supported with specific illustrations of states and/or school districts that have established meaningful, high quality, and useful policies on assessing ELLs with disabilities. Communications quality is high in both design and language, but more detail with specific examples would substantially increase utility. Evidence of effectiveness on learning is not addressed, but this resource could have a possible positive impact on learning based on the other components of the brief.