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The terms "limited English proficient" and "English language learner" (ELL) describe students whose difficulties in speaking, reading, writing, or understanding English may affect their ability to participate fully in society and to succeed in school and on state assessments. These students may include immigrants and migrants as well as U.S. born citizens whose language proficiency is affected by an environment in which a language other than English is spoken at home. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) (currently known as the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 [NCLB]) requires states, districts and schools to report on the ELL subgroup for AYP purposes. The most common way states include ELLs in large-scale testing is through regular state tests with accommodations. Effective accommodations for ELLs address the unique linguistic and socio-cultural needs of the student without interfering with the validity or reliability of the test's results.
Best Practices in State Assessment Policies for Accommodating English Language Learners: A Delphi Study
The George Washington University Center for Equity and Excellence in Education (GW-CEEE) published this Best Practices Study involving the application of a Delphi technique to obtain consensus from an expert panel about which accommodations identified in the GW-CEEE Descriptive Study were ELL-responsive. Members of the panel, relied on their professional judgment to vet a list of ELL-responsive accommodations and then mapped these accommodations to English language proficiency (ELP) levels and to selected student background variables.
Challenges in Evaluating Special Education Teachers and English Language Learner Specialists
The National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality (TQ Center) has released a policy brief describing the results of their survey of more than 1,100 state and local directors of special education and interviews with numerous specialists throughout the nation. The purpose of the survey was to identify the specific challenges in evaluating special education teachers and English language learner specialists, to determine the current status of state and district policy and practice, and to identify promising evaluation practices and instruments. In addition to providing the results of the survey, the brief includes policy and practice recommendations for regions, states, and districts to help in their efforts to create valid, reliable, and comprehensive evaluation systems for all teachers as they work to improve the achievement of all students.