English Language Learning and Assessment in
U.S. K–12 Education

Our research scientists and assessment specialists are working with educators, policymakers and other experts across the United States to find ways to advance education for English learners in grades K–12. Our research in this field mainly covers these three areas:

  • Assessing the language proficiency of English learners — Our research in this area includes a review of current practices in assessing English proficiency; identifying the essential language skills that English learners need in order to meet the Common Core State Standards; and developing an academic reading comprehension assessment for formative purposes.
  • Assessing English learners' content knowledge — In this area, our research focuses on examining content-area assessments (such as mathematics or science) to identify sources of test item difficulty for English learners. Examples of such sources may include cultural references or unnecessary linguistic complexity.
  • Teaching English learners — We are conducting research on two aspects of instruction related to English learners: the content and pedagogical knowledge required to teach English learners, and technology-enhanced professional development materials to support teachers of English learners.

In addition to research we undertake on our own initiative, we are leading the IES-funded English Learner Formative Assessment project.

Featured Publications

Below are some recent or significant publications that our research professionals have authored related to this topic:


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Our Work in English Language Learning

Our Work in English Language Learning Video

Learn more in this brief interview with Xiaoming Xi, Senior Research Director at ETS (Flash, 3:06).

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