Bless NPR. What else would I do on that hour drive to work? 🙂
This is an interesting story regarding the testing of ELLs in Illinios. There are many more issues raised by the story than are answered.
The lead in makes it sound as if Illinois is simply lowering the scores required to pass the state tests for ELLs. Then they disclose that this is a different test than the non-ELLs take and the it was originally just a proficiency test. The passing rates for the proficiency test were oringally based on cut-offs for exiting the bilingual programs and entering mainstream classes. Confused yet? Listen to the story, it won’t help much.
There are a few questions that come to mind that are left unanswered in this piece.
1. Which ELLs take this alternative test? NCLB allows for ELLs to be tested using alternatives to the state test only for 3 years after entering the US educational system. This piece makes it sound as if all ELLs take this test for accountability measures.
2. Are these tests used for accountabililty reporting? They shouldn’t be based upon my understanding of NCLB.
3. How does this proficiency test assess academic knowledge? Many of the proficiency tests that I’ve seen are better at assessing “everyday English” than academic language, much less content area knowledge.
Lots of questions, no answers for now.