Participation of ELLs with Disabilities in ELP Assessments

This brief from the National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO) summarizes existing data and information on the participation of English language learners (ELLs) with disabilities in state English language proficiency (ELP) assessments. Topics addressed in the brief include: (a) state policies on participation, (b) use and reporting of data on participation in ELP assessments, (c) experts’ recommendations about assessment participation, and (d) the understanding of practitioners about the participation of ELLs with disabilities in ELP assessments. Based on the information presented, the NCEO makes four recommendations to states regarding this topic.

Content Comments 

While narrow in scope, this brief provides SEAs with guidance specifically related to participation of ELLs with disabilities in ELP assessments. The four recommendations relate to the clarification of participation policies, alternate methods of assessment, reporting of scores for students with disabilities, and decision-making processes involving student participation in assessments. As the resource states, “it is clear from the evidence that states have taken a variety of approaches to addressing the participation of ELLs with disabilities in ELP assessments. These approaches have varied from outright exclusion (exemption) to participation in some ELP components but not others, to full participation regardless of the potential challenges of the speaking and listening components for some students.” The content provided current practice across states, and is communicated in a clear and succinct manner. Its relevance is somewhat limited by the narrow focus of its topic, but its recommendations would be of value to SEAs reflecting on the issues and considerations related to this topic.