Monday, January 18, 2010

English Language Learners and Mandated Assessments.....A Good Question

The Union Leader carried a news story recently that touches on an interesting point. Should students who are new to the United States, within a year or two, who are English Language Learners, be required to take the federally and state mandated assessments? Obviously, when a child who is an immigrant or a refugee comes into this country and into our school districts, they have many things to deal with…least of all learning the language. A new culture, a new environment, new rules, new friends, etc…all on top of learning how to communicate in a new language, is a very large burden to bear. So, should these students be required to take the NECAP tests in their first or second year of living here? It is a valid question. Obviously, they will not do well if they can not read English. When they score poorly, it reflects badly on the district and when the district doesn’t make AYP (adequate yearly progress), it makes the district continue in its in need of improvement status. On the other hand, the results of these tests allow the district and the state to see how students are doing, and allows officials to place more emphasis and resources on the groups of students that need the most assistance. Typically, those groups include special education students and English language learners. Read the article here and let me know what you think.

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