Score Comparability for Language Minority Students on the Content Assessments Used by Two States

Young, John W.; Holtzman, Steven; Steinberg, Jonathan
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score comparability, test validity, large-scale assessments, English language learners, language minority students, K–12 assessments


In this research investigation of score comparability for language minority students (English language learners [ELLs] and former English language learners), we examined 3 indicators of score comparability (reliability, internal test structure, and differential item functioning) for 4th and 8th grade students who took the NCLB-mandated content assessments in English-language arts and mathematics in 2 different U. S. states. Overall, for the 8 assessments we examined, a high degree of score comparability was found for ELLs and former ELLs, when compared with native English speakers. The results from this study showed that although the assessments from the 2 states differed somewhat with respect to the 3 indicators, a high degree of score comparability was found for both states’ content assessments.

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