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A Review of Digital Products for Formative Assessment Uses: Considering the English Learner Perspective ELL LMSs

Hamill, Christopher; Wolf, Mikyung Kim; Wang, Yuan; Banerjee, Heidi Liu
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Report Number:
ETS Research Memorandum
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Subject/Key Words:
English Language Learners (ELL), Formative Assessment, Digital Technology, Digital Learning, Computer Adaptive Testing, Elementary Secondary Education, Mobile Apps, Tablet Computers, Mobile Devices, Smart Phone, Feedback, Learning Management Systems (LMSs), Item Banks, Item Creation, Score Reports, Student Progress


English learner (EL) students are the most rapidly growing student population in the United States. Recent research has suggested that digital and computer-adaptive instructional tools have tremendous potential to engender positive outcomes for these students and their teachers. Against this backdrop, we conducted a review of 30 currently available digital learning and assessment products that could be used for formative assessment purposes. The aims of this review were (a) to identify which technology-enhanced features have currently been implemented in digital materials intended for formative purposes with EL students and (b) to identify areas in which technology-enhanced features could be still further utilized in digital materials to benefit the formative practices of EL students and their teachers. Our findings reveal that a host of potentially useful features are currently being implemented but that these products and their features largely fail to target the particular needs of EL students. The implications of these findings for developing the next generation of digital learning products for formative assessment uses for EL students and their teachers are discussed.

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