ETS Shares Vision for Next-Generation English Language Proficiency Assessments

ETS Publishes the First Piece in a Series of White Papers Discussing the Future of K–12 English Language Assessment Systems

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Princeton, N.J. (November 19, 2013) —

Educational Testing Service (ETS) is releasing the first in a series of white papers presenting research-based ideas, principles and recommendations for those who will be designing, developing and implementing the next-generation of English language proficiency (ELP) assessment systems.

Creating a Next-Generation System of K–12 English Learner (EL) Language Proficiency Assessments, the first in the series, discusses the history of the current ELP assessment systems that were shaped under the No Child Left Behind Act. It also provides a high-level vision of what ELP assessments currently being planned or developed should be and do to support K–12 EL students.

“The advent of Common Core Standards raises both challenges and opportunities related to the education of English learners,” said Stephen Lazer, Vice President of Student and Teacher Assessments. “That is why it is important to begin public discussions about how to improve English language proficiency assessments that can better support the needs of the K–12 EL students and teachers that depend on them.”

The main limitations of the current generation of ELP assessments that the paper discusses include the lack of consistent standards between states, and the lack of balance between implementing assessments that are used for accountability and assessments that support teaching and language development.

The white paper addresses three key qualities that the next-generation of K–12 ELP assessments should consider. The three qualities include the need to be designed as an assessment system rather than as single assessments; the need to be based on an overarching, well-defined conceptual framework with a clear construct of interest for the entire system; and the need to contain crucial supporting elements designed to increase the access and usefulness of the information provided by the various assessments in the system. The paper also discusses the potential advantages and challenges that are associated with using digital delivery models for K–12 ELP assessment systems

The successive papers in the series will continue to address a variety of important topics on the subject of how to improve the next-generation of ELP assessments. Some of the topics will include issues regarding accessibility, the validity and consequences of ELP assessment uses, the role that digital technology should play in the design of ELP assessments, and the roles that teachers should perform in the effective use of assessment results.

About ETS

At ETS, we advance quality and equity in education for people worldwide by creating assessments based on rigorous research. ETS serves individuals, educational institutions and government agencies by providing customized solutions for teacher certification, English language learning, and elementary, secondary and post-secondary education, as well as conducting education research, analysis and policy studies. Founded as a nonprofit in 1947, ETS develops, administers and scores more than 50 million tests annually — including the TOEFL® and TOEIC® tests, the GRE® tests and The Praxis Series™ assessments — in more than 180 countries, at over 9,000 locations worldwide. www.ets.org

 

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