Tips on EVEA

A few general tips for state officials to keep in mind if they are interested in (or in the process of) evaluating their English language proficiency assessments:

  • Involve the right people in the process. ELP assessment may cut across multiple offices within your department. When pulling together a team, or even just in your efforts to collect information, consider including personnel from any of the following areas:
    • Assessment and Accountability;
    • Federal programs (Title III, NCLB, Title I);
    • English as a second language/ English language learners/English language development;
  • Involve Practitioners. As you gather information about your ELPA and identify priorities, remember that it can be highly beneficial to hear directly from the people who actually use and encounter it – don’t assume that you know anything without talking to these people. Often, conversations with test administrators, scorers, instructors, and even students can shed light on information and situations you would never have even guessed were there!
  • Start big. The best way to get down to a good interpretive argument is to start by creating the biggest most comprehensive web possible of information about your ELPA. Who takes it? How are they identified? Who administers it? Who scores it? How does instruction relate to assessment? How do standards relate? As your work progresses you will focus in more and more closely on certain aspects of your ELPA, but the best way to identify what is most important is to start by trying to articulate everything.
  • Get philosophical. The priorities you identify for your ELPA will stem from your state’s overall approach to learning and language acquisition. Take a moment to discuss and articulate these things with your team. What, ultimately, is your ELPA intended to accomplish? What does your state see as goals and obligations to its EL students? How do you believe that learning actually works? Answering these ‘big picture’ questions can help you to narrow your focus appropriately to the most pressing validity questions based on your state’s values.
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