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English Language Learning and Assessment (ELLA)

At ETS, we have been conducting research on the effectiveness, fairness and validity of assessments for more than 60 years. For at least 40 of those years, we have been at the forefront of research in the area of English language learning and assessment (ELLA), starting with assessments for English learners in other countries and more recently for English learners in the United States.

Our research aims to serve English learners by:

  • adding to the body of scientific knowledge about effective and appropriate language assessment
  • developing new, research-based assessments
  • improving existing assessments
  • designing assessments that aim to improve the quality of instruction for English learners

English Learners in the United States

In the United States, our recent research focuses on the needs of K–12 educators and schools, many of which have growing populations of English learners. This research includes work related to:

  • assessing English proficiency
  • assessing English learners' content knowledge
  • teaching English learners

Learn more about our research related to English learners in the United States.

See also information on our work for the IES-funded English Learner Formative Assessment project.

English Learners Worldwide

Outside of the United States, we have maintained a rigorous research agenda related to the assessment of English learners since the 1970s. The goal of such research is to design assessments in ways that lead to meaningful scores that allow for valid judgments about test-takers' English skills. While some of this research has been associated with our TOEFL® and TOEIC® families of assessments, we also have a heritage of foundational (or basic) research into English assessments for workplace purposes and for academic purposes at all levels.

Learn more about our research related to English learners around the world.

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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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