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Assessment Resources


 Assessment occurs when we build connections between opportunity and language development. Assessment is an opportunity to create contexts for teaching and learning. 

Li, C., Kruger, L.J., Beneville, M., Kimble, E., & Krishman K. (2018). The Unintended Consequences of High-Stakes Testing on English-Language Learners: Implications for the Practice of School Psychology. School Psychology Forum, 12(3). 79-90.  This article explores how school psychologists may address assessment issues in the multitiered system of supports to help ELLs and their families cope with the unintended, negative consequences of high-stakes tests. 

Karvonen, M., & Clark, A. K. . (2019). Students With the Most Significant Cognitive Disabilities Who Are Also English Learners. Research & Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 44(2), 71–86. Retrieved from  This study expands what is known about this population by describing EL students who participated in Dynamic Learning Maps Alternate Assessments in 16 states during the 2016-2017 year. Data sources include (a) teacher responses to a survey of student characteristics, including items about academic skills, expressive and receptive communication, and classroom setting; (b) accessibility supports used during assessment; (c) students’ alternate assessment results; and (d) student EL services. Results are described for students identified as ELs, likely-ELs, and non-ELs. 

5 Principles for Inclusive and Valid Assessment of ELs with Disabilities

The Improving the Validity of Assessment Results for English Language Learners with Disabilities (IVARED) project has identified essential principles of inclusive and valid assessments for English language learners (ELLs) with disabilities.

Principle 1. Content standards are the same for all students.

Principle 2. Test and item development include a focus on access to the content, free from bias, without changing the construct being measured.

Principle 3. Assessment participation decisions are made on an individual student basis by an in- formed IEP team.

Principle 4. Accommodations for both English language proficiency (ELP) and content assessments are assigned by an IEP team knowledgeable about the individual student’s needs.

Principle 5. Reporting formats and content support different uses of large-scale assessment data for different audiences.

Identifying and Supporting EL students with Learning Disabilities: Key Issues in the Literature and State Practice

The research literature suggests that answers to the following questions can help deter­ mine whether an English learner student’s academic difficulties are caused by a learning disability or by struggles with second-language acquisition or some other factor. This document explores the types of questions and factors that enable school personnel to assist ELs in the special education process.

USDE Toolkit - Tools and Resources for Addressing ELs with Disabilities

This is the sixth chapter of the English Learner Tool Kit, which is intended to help state and local education agencies(SEAs and LEAs) meet their obligations to English Learners (ELs). This tool kit should be read in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights’ (OCR) and the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Dear Colleague Letter on “English Learner Students and Limited English Proficient Parents,” published in January 2015, which outlines SEAs’ and LEAs’ legal obligations to ELs under civil rights laws and other federal requirements. The Dear Colleague Letter can be found at

AIR - Evaluation of Assessments for ELs with Disabilities

This is a compilation of the efforts of experts in the assessment and instruction of ELs with disabilities to present recent research and development efforts in this area. The meeting included three panel presentations and subsequent moderated discussions: (1) Differentiating Language and Literacy Acquisition From Disability; (2) Fostering Valid and Reliable English Language Proficiency (ELP) Assessments for ELs With Disabilities; and (3) Assessing ELs With Significant Cognitive Disabilities—ELP Standards and Assessments, and Growth and Attainment Criteria. Their findings are outlined within this document.

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