Harnessing Technological Innovation in Assessing English Learners: Enhancing Rather than Hindering

8:15 - 10:15am EDT

Renaissance West B

Presented at: NCME 2016

How do English Learners (ELs) interact with technology in large-scale testing? In this coordinated session, an interdisciplinary team from the Center for Applied Linguistics presents findings from four years of research and development for the WIDA Consortium.

For nine years, WIDA has offered an annual paper-and-pencil assessment of developing academic English language proficiency (ELP), known as ACCESS for ELLs, used to assess over 1 million ELs in 36 states. With federal funding, WIDA and its partners have transitioned this assessment to a web-based assessment, ACCESS 2.0, now in its first operational year (2015-2016). ACCESS 2.0 is used to assess ELs at all levels of English language development, from grades 1 to 12, and to assess all four language domains (listening, speaking, reading and writing). Thus, the research and development activities covered multiple critical issues pertaining to ELs and technology in large-scale assessments.

In this session, we share research findings from several inter-related perspectives, including improving accuracy of measurement, developing complex web-based performance-assessment tasks, and familiarity with technology in the EL population, including keyboarding and interfacing with technology-enhanced task types. These findings provide insight into the valid assessment of ELs using technology for a wide variety of uses.