Incorporating Students’ Voices in the Accommodations Debate: Cognitive Laboratory Interactions With Traditional and Multisemiotic Test Items

8:15 - 9:45am

Hilton Union Square, Lobby Level – Golden Gate 7

Presented at: American Educational Research Association (AERA) 2013 Annual Meeting

The reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) under No Child Left Behind (NCLB) has had serious ramifications on assessment policies and practices for English Learners (ELs). This presentation reports on ELs’ interactions with a new computerized test developed as part of this reform effort, Obtaining Necessary Parity and Academic Rigor (ONPAR). ONPAR uses an access-based framework (Kopriva, 2008) and replaces typically linguistically complex test items with a variety of multisemiotic resources (e.g., visuals, action, sound, and language) (Kress, Jewitt, Ogborn & Tsatsarelis, 2001; Kress & van Leeuwen, 2001). We propose that meaningfully including ELs in standardized testing requires taking into account the cognitive resources they draw upon when interacting with test items, and that a one-size-fits-all approach to including ELs in standardized testing is inadequate.