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Comparing the Potential Utility of Kindergarten Entry Assessments to Provide Evidence of English Learners' Knowledge and Skills

Author(s):
Ackerman, Debra J.
Publication Year:
2018
Report Number:
RR-18-36
Source:
ETS Research Report, ETS Policy Information Center Report
Document Type:
Report
Page Count:
28
Subject/Key Words:
Kindergarten, Entrance Examinations, School Readiness, English Language Learners (ELL), Linguistic Accommodations, Knowledge Level, Language Skills, Pedagogical Language Knowledge, Teachers, Teaching Strategies, Test Content, Test Validity, Test Reliability, Early Childhood Education

Abstract

In this report I share the results of a document‐based, comparative case study aimed at increasing our understanding about the potential utility of state kindergarten entry assessments (KEAs) to provide evidence of English learner (EL) kindergartners' knowledge and skills and, in turn, inform kindergarten teachers' instruction. Using a sample of 9 purposely selected state KEAs and their respective policies, the focus of the study was to what extent these measures contain items that are specific to ELs, allow or mandate the use of linguistic accommodations, and have policies on KEA assessor or observer linguistic capacity. Also of interest was the degree to which research supports the use of these measures with EL students. The study's results suggest that the 9 sample KEAs represent 3 different profiles along a less‐to‐more continuum of EL‐specific content, linguistic accommodations and assessor/observer linguistic capacity policies, and EL‐relevant research. These results have implications for policymakers who are tasked with selecting or developing a KEA aimed at informing kindergarten teachers' instruction as well as the future research to be conducted on KEAs designed for this purpose.

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