Student Assessment Inventory for School Districts: Considerations for Assessing English Language Learner Students

Intended for districts and other local educational agencies (LEAs), this paper focuses on how to conduct a comprehensive review of school and district assessment systems with regard to English language learners (ELLs). This document supplements Achieve's Student Assessment Inventory for School Districts (see below in the Related Resources section) and describes assessment considerations for ELLs. The paper provides historical context of ELLs and assessment, as well as current considerations with English language proficiency (ELP) assessments and college and career ready standards (CCRS). Along with recommendations for a process to inventory school and district assessments for ELLs, key takeaways from this paper include:

  • The concept of correspondence between ELP and content standards (e.g., CCRS). Correspondence refers to the "use of the language(s) necessary to engage in learning and the display of knowledge in the content standards as student participate in instruction" (p. 4).
  • Review of useful guidance found in Council of Chief State School Officers ELPD Framework (see Related Resources below).
  • The expectation of the ELP standards is that ELP development will occur in parallel with rigorous academic development (p. 6).
  • "The primary consideration for a district in evaluating the appropriateness of an assessment for ELLs should be its ability to assess, support, and promote authentic and rigorous academic uses of language by students in the classroom" (p. 7).
Content Comments 

This is an excellent and highly practical paper that LEAs can use to guide a review of assessments for ELLs. Note that this paper was published before the Every Student Succeeds Act, and some of the discussions related to Title I and Title III found in this paper are out-of-date. That said, this paper is still very relevant to the current standards and assessment climate. The discussion on the concept of correspondence between ELP standards and the content standards is especially informative and enlightening. The paper also includes a useful sample elementary assessment inventory with ELL-specific questions.