The pressure of high-stakes assessment and changing policies in relation to emergent bilinguals is a challenge for many educators.  On the one hand, these assessments and policies have increased the accountability for all educators to ensure the success of emergent bilinguals (rather than placing the responsibility exclusively on the ESL teachers).  On the other hand, coordinating these tests and the necessary accommodations can be confusing and time-consuming.  And the pressure tends to force many educators to place greater emphasis on testing rather than the day-to-day learning of their students.

Compose your email:
The purpose of this post is to compose an email to a school administrator where you inform them about federal policies for state-mandated testing for emergent bilinguals (who the US Department of Education and MDE call “English learners”). Imagine you are responsible for conducting high-stakes testing for emergent bilinguals in your future district. In this email, be sure to explain the following and cite at least 3 readings from this week.
How have policies regarding testing affected emergent bilinguals?
What challenges do emergent bilinguals and their teachers to face from high-stakes testing?
How do these policies and challenges affect how testing needs to be organized for emergent bilinguals in the school or district? What administrative support will you need?
Reading from this week:
Suárez-Orozco, M., & Suárez-Orozco, C. (2015). Children of immigration. Phi Delta Kappan, 97(4) → Reread “Assessment” (p. 11-12) and “State and Federal Education Policies” (p. 12-13)
Coltrane, B. (2002). English language learners and high-stakes tests: An overview of the issues. ERIC Digest (ED470981).
LastWeekTonight. (2015). “Standardized Testing: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)” (18:01)
Rethinking Bilingual Ed: “What happened to Spanish?: How high-stakes tests doomed biliteracy at my school” by G. C. Gonzales (p. 289-294)
Fenner, D. S. (2016). Fair and square assessments for ELLs. Educational Leadership, 73(5).
Wright, W. E. (2006). A catch-22 for language learners. Educational Leadership, 64(3), 22-27.
August, D. (2016). What will ESSA mean for English learners? American Institutes for Research.
Watch: Wright, W. (2016). “The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and English Language Learners (ELLs)” (19:26)
Lindhal, K. (2015). The ESSA and ESL teacher education. TESOL Blog.
MI Entrance and Exit Protocols
MDE: Accommodations Table, FAQ, and Testing Policy for First Years.
de Jong, E. J., & Harper, C. A. (2005). Preparing mainstream teachers for English-language learners: Is being a good teacher good enough? Teacher Education Quarterly, 32(2), 101-124.


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