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English Language Learners: How to Conduct an Assessment

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English Language Learners:
Conducting Special Education
Jane E. Minnema, Ph.D.
University of Minnesota
[email protected]
National Center on Educational Outcomes
Plan for the Workshop
пѓ� Getting Started!
Early team work
“Other” language considerations
ELL & disability confusion
пѓ� Quick Break!
пѓ� Doing the Assessment!
10 Principles for Assessment
ELL considerations
Disability vs. language delay
First steps
Work as a team
Understand pertinent cultures
Put Federal and State law in context
Adapt special education process
List tasks пѓ Create a plan
Work independently to …
Create materials and to …
Share, share, share information!
Cultural Understandings
Access printed information –
Internet, libraries, community groups
Cultural representatives –
restaurants, festivals, presentations
Create staff materials
Cheng (1991) cautions …
“Not all people from the same culture
have the same values and beliefs;
there are tremendous individual
differences. For this reason, it is
necessary to be extremely careful
when making cultural assumptions.
Nevertheless, an awareness of the
general cultural and linguistic values
of … minority populations is an
essential tool …”
Laws and Criteria
Federal Rule: Observation
(At least one team member … observe
the child …classroom setting.)
e.g., by second language expert
MN Interpretation of Federal Rule
(Assessment data …different settings.)
e.g., second language classroom
Adapt Assessment Process –
Before testing …
Adapt Assessment Process –
During and After Testing
Diversity is …
Race or ethnicity
Culture (religion, family, beliefs,
dress, food, communication, health
care, education)
Reasons for moving to U.S.
(immigrant or refugee)
Socioeconomic (before U.S., in U.S.,
unemployment, underemployment,
over employment, family stress)
Culturally Relevant Terms
Acculturation – assumes American
cultural attributes (language, norms,
behaviors, and values)
Assimilation – incorporation into
social and cultural networks of host
society by giving up native culture
Related Issues
Generational issues
Broad continuum of development
Uneven process
Constantly changing
Terms for Students
Limited English Proficient (LEP)
English language learner (ELL)
English as a second language (ESL)
Culturally & linguistically diverse (CLD)
Issues Raised
No common term used
Terms lack specificity
No “person first” language in ELL
Confuse students and services
Terms for Services
English as a second language
Bilingual education
Content-based instruction
Common practice in LA?
Issues Raised
Multiple models across states
Service delivery varies within states
Practice does not match research
- Content-based instruction most
Language Terms
L1 – native language
L2 – can be English
Mulitilingual, bilingual, monolingual
Pidgins or creoles – fusion of two or more
languages over time
Code-switching – controlled blending of
languages that is rule-bound and meaningful
Modes of Cross-Communication
Interpretation – Oral presentation of
non-native language
Translation – Written presentation of
non-native language
Language Influence
L1 influences L2
- Stronger L1 is, the better L2 will be.
- Vocabulary, syntax, semantics
May formalize into pidgins, creoles,
or social dialects
Code-switching during L2 acquisition
Native Language Loss
L1 regress or lost
L1 speaking regresses more than L1
Stopping L1 has negative cognitive effects
on L2
Home language models may not be fluent
in L1 or L2
English Language Learning
L1 literacy level and education
Time in U.S.
Time in U.S. schools
Family situation
Language models at home
Health factors
Student motivation, time, and ability
English Language Learning Levels
Basic Interpersonal Communication
Skills (BICS)
Cognitive Academic Language
Proficiency (CALP)
Social, concrete, here and now
NOT used for academics
Takes 2-4 years (easier for < 8 yr)
Everyday pronunciation proficiency
Grammar (simple declarative
sentences, questions, colloquialisms)
Vocabulary about 500 words
Examples of BICS
Listening: Follows general classroom
Speaking: Converses with peers and
teachers. May speak without accent.
Reading: Decode easily.
Writing: Completes school forms. Find
and copy answers to textbook questions.
Proficient in decontextualized
language and academic settings
(inferences, predictions, abstractions)
Manipulate language outside of
immediate personal setting
Has literacy
Vocabulary +5000 words
If literate in L1, 5-7 years. If not, 6-9
years. Some may never acquire.
Examples of CALP
Listening: Follow directions for academic
tasks. Understands discussion of
academic material. Knows main idea from
Speaking: Expresses reasons for
opinions. Asks for clarification during
academic tasks.
Reading: Comprehension good.
Writing: Can write essay supporting a
point of view.
Language vs. Disability ??
Teachers expect more when BICS
LD concern when academics not
BUT … CALP still developing!
Caution Teachers!
Speaking English conversationally
well, but not using well academically
NOT a reason to suspect disability.
Student at BICS level without CALP
should still receive ESL services.
Shared by Native Speakers with LD
and English Learners
Slow to respond
Knew something yesterday but not today
Low vocabulary
Difficulty following directions
Retains information poorly
Below grade level spelling, math, reading
Limited attention span
Poor visual memory
Low frustration tolerance
Shared by Native Speakers with BD
and CLD Students
Differences in:
- personal space
- eye gaze
- response time
- body language
- vocal pitch and intensity
- conversational rules
10 Principles for Assessing ELLs
and Determining Eligibility for
Special Education Services
Elizabeth Watkins, MDOE, 2000
St. Paul Public Schools LEP Resource Team, 1998
Meredith Boo, Bloomington Schools, MN, 2001
Berry (1080); Collier & Collier (2003, 1985); Fradd & McGee (1994);
Ortiz (2003; 1992); Wilkinson (2003)
#1 – Examine School Environment
C & I meeting all students’ needs?
Meeting all ELL needs?
ELL disproportionate representation?
- Over-representation?
- Under-representation?
#2 – Resources for Assessment
At district and building level
Identify who and what
Access training
#3 – Involve Cultural Informants
Language teachers (ESL or bilingual)
Cultural representatives – FAMILY!
Community outreach workers
ALL stages of assessment Pre-referral through IEP!
#4 – Prereferral Interventions &
Background Information
First, exclude English learning or
instructional issue
Involve English language teacher
Student and environmental factors
impacts on English learning
#4a – Excluding English Learning
L1 and English language data:
- ESL history
- Language development
- Home and native language(s)
- Language status
 L1 and L2 use and proficiency
 ESL records
 Direct and indirect assessments
L1 Language Assessment
Do anytime!
Direct: standardized language
testing, conversational sample, story
retelling task, dictation task, story
telling task, home visit, observations
Indirect: parent interview, parent
report, home visit, observation
Types of Communicators
L1 monolingual
Partial bilingual
Developing bilingual
L1 receptive
nonstandard English speaker
English monolingual
Bilingual with code switching
Limited due to disabiity
#4b – Excluding Instructional Issues
Best teaching approach thematic
One stage above English proficiency
Looking for 2 year gap:
- Compared to ELL peers
- Disability in native language /
native environment
- Physical/health disability
Three Ways to Exclude Language
and Instruction
Know “general” expectations
Know recommended ELL practices
Pre-referral Interventions
- Adapt mainstream instruction
- Academic techniques
“General” Expectations
1st or 2nd grade academically with 2-3
years of English instruction
Average ELL - 10-12 years to reach
50th %ile on group achievement test
Longer if no academics in L1
Research “Recommended” ELL
Learn English through content material
Active in concrete activities related to
content objective
Acquire concepts when comprehend
English (simplify or bilingual support)
Retain when use in multiple authentic
Supportive, stress free environment
Link prior knowledge to new content
Research on Practice (cont.)
Use collaborative meaning making process
- Learn faster when interact with peers
Comprehension dependent on background knowledge
- Read and comprehend with experience
Textbooks challenge ELLs
- Multimodal support beyond level of language
Culture important to affective and cognitive development
- RESPECT native culture and language
Pre-referral Intervention – Adapting
Mainstream Instruction
Pair oral and written instructions
Key points in writing
Simplify English, NOT concepts
Many visuals
Modify teacher expectations:
- Identify core material
- Re-teach many times differently
Teach both language and content:
- Assignments in both
- Grade progress in both
Pre-referral Interventions (cont.)
Talk slower, NOT louder!
Use body language
Seek bilingual help cheerfully (another
student, bilingual para, etc.)
Use interpreter or translator (tape or video
for future use)
Student kept vocabulary booklet:
- Writing assignments
- For credit/grading
Pre-referral Interventions (cont.)
Vary complexity of questions
Encourage any effort!
Extend, elaborate, and paraphrase
without correcting
Allow extra time
Talk about what matters to ELL
Create literate classroom
environment (see and hear variety)
Pre-referral Interventions –
Academic Techniques
Reduce number of problems
Highlight key information
Remove pages from text or booklet
Outline key ideas at academic level
Tape record to read along
Read aloud tests/quizzes
Tape record tests/quizzes
Construction paper “reading windows”
Pre-referral Interventions –
Academic Techniques (cont.)
Simplify written directions
Tape record directions
Cooperative learning/peer assistance
More time tests/quizzes
Use assignment calendar or notebook
Use manipulatives
Rearrange problems on page
Use graph paper (math, handwriting)
#5 – Time to Learn English
Typically 1-2 years for BICS and
Only refer within 1st year if:
- Family very concerned
- At-risk due to background
- Language teacher reports
significant difference from other ELLs
#6 – Plan and Complete Multiple
Assessment Procedures
Determine assessment domains
Plan for language use:
- Language dominance
- L1 and L2 proficiency
Arrange for interpreter
Use stronger language generally
Assess content in language of
Assessment Procedures (cont.)
Test procedures & directions in L1
Accept L1 and L2 responses
Check test for bias (norms and items)
Modify and adapt standardized
Supplement with criterion-referenced,
curriculum-based, or other informal
Assessment Procedures (cont.)
Supplemental assessments:
Teacher ratings/checklists
Student self-ratings
Work progress records
Portfolio work samples
Dialogue journals
Naturalistic or planned observations
Oral interviews and role plays
Story retelling
Semantic maps
Writing samples
Modifying Norm-Referenced Tests
Administer some subtests
Eliminate, modify, or mark biased
Allow extra time
Give additional demonstrations,
attempts for ability to master
Test/retest for growth
Test/retest in L1 and L2
Modify Scoring and Interpretation
Allow variations in responding
- Verbal or nonverbal
- Label function rather than object
Allow for language, dialect, or experience
Score “by the book” and again with
Report scores as range or estimate
Compare to ELL peers instead of norms
Analyze data for patterns related to culture
or background experiences
“This test has not been normed on
members of this student’s ethnic
group. Therefore, it is inappropriate
to compute or report derived scores.
However, the results of this test
provide information useful for
intervention planning.”
Name of Interpreter used: _________
LD Assessment Procedures - IQ
Use two IQ instruments
UNIT recommended; CTONI 2nd
Can use WISC performance, but not
verbal score - NOT for discrepancy
Woodcock Johnson with adaptations
for academic assessment - Do NOT
use regression chart. Use non-verbal
IQ for criterion score.
LD Assessment Procedures Processing
To document information processing
- Only if occur in home and school
- Not those characteristics shared by
ELLs and students with LD
LD Assessment Procedures –
Culturally-based Reading Behaviors
Basic reading skills that are difficult:
Reading out loud
Moving from visual to auditory cues (& vice
Better in group or with family member
Slow reading rate
Learning better within game
Poor word attack
LD Assessment Procedures –
Culturally-based Reading Behaviors
Comprehension skills that are difficult:
Interpretive questions
Facts from inferences
If … then conclusions
Some concepts (time in particular)
Written formal language
#7 – Determine Eligibility
Review data beginning with native language,
family background, school history
Describe all adaptations
Include cautionary language (norms, test validity)
Include descriptive data, family data,
supplemental testing, other sources
Professional judgment in reporting scores
Rule out English language as PRIMARY cause
Rule out instruction as PRIMARY cause
#8 – Due Process
Informed consent in parents’ native
language if needed
Use trained interpreter
Research shows parents not
understanding due process even
when presented in native language
#9 – Develop IEP
Use direct and indirect assessment
data to develop goals and objectives
Also use all data on language and
English language teacher as team
#10 – Review Student Progress
Repeat Principles 1 through 9 as
Need not be formal assessment or
annual review
Make adjustments as needed
Tips for Using Interpreters
Meet before assessment
Explain assessment process
Demonstrate any tasks
Make purpose and information needed
very clear
Obtain exact interpretation
Opinions and impressions afterwards
Interpreter rapport with student before
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