Discerning — and Fostering — What English Learners Can Do With Language: Guidance on Gathering and Interpreting Complementary Evidence of Classroom Language Uses for Reclassification Decisions

The resource describes classroom-based evidence of English learners' (ELs') language use to complement standardized, large-scale, summative English Language Proficiency (ELP) assessments. The authors explore systems of collecting evidence about EL's classroom-based language uses that can inform English learner reclassification decisions. In particular, the guidance:

  • Describes how states might develop standardized methods that local educators can use to gather and interpret evidence of English learner students’ classroom language uses;
  • Suggests how states might ensure this evidence targets more interactive, discipline-specific, and classroom-based language uses found in state ELP standards; is complementary to that of the state’s annual ELP assessment; and is appropriately used in decisions to reclassify English learners; and
  • Offers an illustrative prototype of tools states might develop in collaboration with local educators to collect and evaluate English learners’ classroom language uses, including a sample observation sheet and sample rubrics.

This resource supplements the Council of Chief State School Officers’ published framework and guidance documents designed to help individual states and multi-state assessment consortia move toward a more common definition of English learner.

Content Comments 

Research and the work from the Council of Chief State School Officers' English Language Learner Assessment Advisory Task Force have shown that "states and districts should make EL reclassification decisions using more than an annual summative ELP assessment result; they should also examine EL students’ classroom language uses as an additional reclassification criterion" (p. 3). This resource provides timely guidance on best practices for gathering classroom-based evidence on ELs' language use. Given that the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) calls for standardized statewide EL entry and exit procedures, this resource can help state and local education agencies work toward adding classroom-based evidence to ELs' exit criteria to better illuminate the language abilities of ELs.