Overview of Current Federal Policies in Assessment and Accountability and their Impact on ELL Students JULIA LARA A ND MAGDA ChIA
Chapter Overview This chapter presents an overview of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) assessment and accountability requirements that pertain to English language learners (ELLs) and reviews concerns that have been expressed regarding impact of assessment and accountability provisions on ELLs and schools they attend. In addition, this chapter outlines the positive outcomes of the law relative to ELLs; presents a brief discussion of accountability and assessment approaches offered as alternatives to the current system; and contains recommendations culled from the various reports that examined issues of assessment, accountability, and ELLs. The chapter is directed at teachers and other school level practitioners; therefore, it excludes technical (measurement) considerations that are presented elsewhere in this book. Instead, we focus on ELL issues that have raised the most concern among interested stakeholders in the field of education. The authors acknowledge that these concerns have been presented in various reports focusing on NCLB. Nonetheless, the chapter strives for a balanced approach to a critique of the law. Also, it reinforces conclusions drawn elsewhere that, despite good intentions, many of actions taken to address the call for ELL inclusion in assessment are threats to the cultural validity of assessments for ELL students.