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WIDA Spotlight

Learn more about ASSETS, the next-generation, technology-based language assessment system for English language learners in Grades K-12.

CAL Spotlight

Learn more about CAL's testing and assessment resources.


Assessment Expertise

The Center for Applied Linguistics draws from years of experience developing assessments for English Language Learners (ELLs), and has expertise creating both paper-and-pencil and computerized assessments. Working together with our experienced linguists, content experts, psychometricians, and graphic designers, we have honed our skills and are prepared to create a wide range of assessments.

On the cutting edge of technology are our computer-based assessments for PreK-12 ELLs. In coordination with our content expertise, we have the capacity to produce interoperable QTI compliant items that are portable across different vendors, as well as create psychometrically verified computer adaptive tests. We are also leading the field in the development of innovative, research-based academic language proficiency assessments for the productive domains of speaking and writing.

In addition, the Center for Applied Linguistics has developed a research and computer-based methodology to assess math and science content for ELLs. This methodology makes the content of math and science accessible to ELLs by replacing large amounts of text with carefully constructed images and animations. Innovative low-language response spaces draw from images and animations in the item presentation. This methodology is used to create large-scale assessments, interim assessments, and/or classroom based learning activities. Automatic scoring algorithms which allow for partial credit provide instant feedback to students and teachers.

We also have a growing expertise in developing assessments especially targeted to young learners in Pre-K, kindergarten, and first grade. Special attention is paid to cognitive and age appropriateness of content representation.

Our assessment expertise enables us to create all types of assessments across all grade levels, whether that is a paper-based test for high school students, a computerized assessment for elementary school students, or a hybrid of the two for the youngest learners.

Dorry Kenyon, PhD
Vice President, Programs and Director, CAL-WIDA Activities