PreK-12 EL Assessment
Like all students, English learners in grades preK–12 must meet the demands of college and career readiness standards. Given ELs’ twin challenge of learning English while also learning academic content, language assessment plays a valuable role in ensuring that ELs have the opportunity to achieve academic success. In particular, assessing academic English language proficiency, rather than merely general social English, focuses on the language ELs need to know in order to access grade level academic content.
The preK–12 English language proficiency tests developed by CAL are part of a system of assessments that can be used to determine appropriate language support services, ascertain annual growth, and tailor language instruction. The overall goal of language assessment is to provide teachers useful information that can inform instruction to help students progress in learning English, so they may access the general education curriculum. Screener assessments ensure that ELs are identified appropriately to receive English language support, while summative test scores are able to demonstrate students’ annual progress in acquiring academic English. Furthermore, interim assessments can indicate students’ progress throughout the school year and can help teachers tailor instruction to meet instructional goals.
CAL works with MetriTech and New York State to develop items for the speaking portion of the NYSESLAT, an assessment of English oral proficiency of all English Language Learners enrolled in Grades K-12 in New York State schools. Approximately 275,000 students across the state are assessed by the NYSESLAT annually.
CAL collaborates with the 39-state WIDA Consortium in its work to provide standards-based assessments for English language learners, most prominently on the Consortium’s assessment of English language proficiency, ACCESS for ELLs®. The test is currently taken by over 1,000,000 students annually.