English Language
Learners
Assessing Language
Proficiency
Language Proficiency
Assessment
 You must obtain information for the ELL in
both L1 and L2 prior to testing.
 You must obtain information for the ELL in
both L1 and L2 prior to testing.
 You must obtain information for the ELL in
both L1 and L2 prior to testing.
 You must obtain information for the ELL in
both L1 and L2 prior to testing.
 You must obtain information for the ELL in
both L1 and L2 prior to testing.
Why test for Language 1st?
 To determine the appropriateness of the
child’s classroom setting.
 To determine the language for future
testing.
 To determine the impact that language
proficiency may have on testing data.
 To determine if the areas of concern are a
result of a real disability or simply a
reflection of the normal process of 2nd
language acquisition.
Same fact over and over.
 A true disability must be apparent in both
languages.
 You can not be disabled in English and not
be disabled in your native language.
 If you are experiencing significant difficulty
in English, this must be supported as
significant difficulty in your first language to
be considered a disability. You must take
into account prior academic knowledge of
L1 when considering this.
Use formal and informal
methods
 Formal methods (examples)
 WMLS-R
 IDEA
 BEST-Plus
 WLPB-R
 Informal methods (examples)
 Basic conversation
 Observations with peers
 Interviews with parents and teachers
Formal and Informal Methods
Include
 Formal methods: surface components are
examined:
 Phonology
 Morphology
 Syntax
 Grammar
 Vocabulary
 Informal methods:
 Real-life use of language
 Use BOTH for a complete picture.
Testing should measure…
 BICS and CALP
 Measure both languages
 Receptive and Expressive Skills
 Current language skills (data more than 6
months old is OUTDATED)
What to look for in a good test:
 Norming properties
 Psychometric factors (reliability and
validity)
 Skills assessed
 Theoretical foundation used to develop the
measure
 Extent to which the instrument
incorporates the language proficiency
practices just described
Things to look out for . . .
 Translated into another
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language, but not
renormed.
Translated into another
language with no concern
as to how item difficulty
might impact basals and
ceilings.
No norms at all
Poor reliability and validity
in newly normed
language.
Only reliability and validity
reported for original
language.
 What country were norms
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generated?
New immigrants or 2nd3rd generation in norming
sample.
Language testing
incorporates all dialects
as possible choices.
Tests are created in a
manner as to be culturally
biased in the questions
asked.
Looks at only one
component in language.
Does not use authentic
language.
What do you do when no
“perfect test” exists?
 Use multiple sources of data (this should
be standard practice even with great
tests).
 Incorporate informal and formal measures
in your assessment plan (this should be
done anyway).
 Describe any significant weaknesses of a
measure in your interpretation of the
results.
Two Respected Language
Proficiency Measures
 Basic Inventory of Natural Language: This test
can be used for more than 30 languages and is
used to test students in grades kindergarten
through 12. Students are shown large pictures,
which the students individually discuss orally.
Their taped explanations are then scored using
measurements such as sentence complexity and
length.
 Woodcock-Muñoz Language Survey-Revised:
This individually administered test is for ages 4
through adult and measures listening, speaking,
reading and writing skills.
http://spanish.about.com/library/questions/blq-fluencytests.htm
WMLS-R: Provides CALP
 CALP score:
 1 = negligible
 2 = very limited
 3 = limited
 4 = fluent
 5 = advanced
Informal Methods
 Observations: academic and social settings.
 Questionnaires: parents and teachers answer
open-ended questions.
 Rating Scales: Uses likert scales for teacher and
parent input.
 Storytelling: Have the child tell you a story and
evaluate that story.
 Cloze Techniques: Student completes a
sentence or phrase presented.
 Language Samples: Obtained through direct
conversation, observations in class, or anywhere
that the child talks
Informal Language Testing
 Many of the previously described methods
have previously published methods of
conducting the informal assessment.
 Observations: BOLD
 Questionnaires: Bilingual Proficiency
Questionnnaire
 Teacher Rating Scale: SOLOM
 Make sure that you are familiar with how to
produce CBM before you make your own
informal measure of language
assessment.
Factors When Interpreting
Language Proficiency Data
 Context of previous educational services and
home literacy factors.
 Does child have CALP in L1?
 What type of bilingual education?
 Does the child receive formal language instruction in
L1 outside of school?
 Compare the ELL with other ELLs
 CALP scores significantly different from language
learning peers?
 Do teachers note any significant difference from
language learning peers?
 Do you note during observations or informal testing
any significant difference from language learning
peers?
Factors When Interpreting
Language Proficiency Data
 Consistency of data across formal and informal
measures
 If there is a difference, you need to find out why this
occurs.
 Additional Caveats in Interpretation
 Dominance only shows if a child is better in tested
aspects of language assessed and not child’s overall
language skills.
 Just because a child is dominant in one language over
another, this does not mean that the child has sufficient
language skills to just test in that language.
 Presence or absence of an accent does not indicate
proficiency or dominance. It just shows what age the
learner picked up either language.
Group project: Pg. 149
 Examine the profiles on pg. 149.
 Which profiles will experience the most
difficulties in school in the U.S.
 Which profiles will experience the most
difficulty in school in the native country.
 Describe how one might develop into a
child meeting the description of Profile 1.
 Describe how one might develop into a
child meeting the description of Profile 8.
WMLS-R
Administration
Woodcock-Muñoz
Language SurveyRevised
WMLS-R: Overview
 Individually administered tests
 Provide broad sampling of proficency in
oral language, language comprehension,
reading, and writing.
 Forms:
 English: Form A
 English: Form B
 Spanish
 Normed on English and Spanish speakers
 35-45 min for all 7 tests; 15-20 for CALP
WMLS-R Coversheet
Selective Testing Table
Test 1: Picture Vocabulary
 Identify pictured objects
 Expressive semantic task at single-word
level.
 Do not penalize for articulation, dialect, or
regional speech differences.
 Test by complete pages until 6 lowest
correct and 6 highest are incorrect
Test 1: Picture Vocabulary
Test 1: Picture Vocabulary
Test 1: Picture Vocabulary
Test 2: Verbal Analogies
 Listen to 3 words of an analogy and then
complete the fourth word
 Example: a is to b and c is to ???
 Items may be repeated if requested by subject
 Do not penalize for articulation, dialect, or
regional speech differences.
 Correct if differs only in verb tense or number
(singular vs. plural).
 Incorrect if differs in that it changes part of
speech (verb to noun).
 Test by until 6 lowest correct and 6 highest are
incorrect (not complete pages)
Test 2: Verbal Analogies
Test 2: Verbal Analogies
Test 3: Letter-Word
Identification
 Identify presented single letters or single words.
 You must know how to say all of these words
before starting the test.
 If the subject does not read fluently (reads letterby-letter) ask for them to read it smoothly. If they
continue to read it choppily, then count it wrong.
 Do not penalize for articulation, dialect, or
regional speech differences.
 Do not penalize for articulation, dialect, or
regional speech differences.
 Test by complete pages until 6 lowest correct
and 6 highest are incorrect
Test 3: Letter-Word ID
Test 3: Letter-Word ID
Test 3: Letter-Word ID
Test 4: Dictation
 Asked to draw lines, write letters, and/or words.
 You must know how to say all of these words
before starting the test.
 Score each item as administered
 Print is preferred, but you can accept cursive if
you are sure it is correct.
 Reversals are accepted that don’t change the
letter (b to d).
 Tell subject to use both capital and small letters if
only using upper case.
 Test by until 6 lowest correct and 6 highest are
incorrect (not complete pages)
Test 4: Dictation
Test 4: Dictation
Test 4: Dictation
Test 5: Understanding
Directions
 Listen to instructions and follow directions by
pointing to items in a colored picture.
 Present all items from the audio recorder
 Pause the recording if child needs more time.
 Do not repeat any items during test
 You can present items orally to very young
children and those with hearing problems that
have difficulty with audio equipment.
 Basal: starting point is on pg. 111. Read cut-off
scores to determine if child needs to go back to
previous group
 Ceiling: stop when child meets at or below the
cut-off score.
Test 6: Story Recall
 Recall stories they hear from the audio recording.
 Pause after each story so can respond
 Look away while audio is playing, look back
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expectantly when it is done.
Do not repeat any stories
Elements not in bold can be summarized, bold items
most be given exactly. (alkjdfla / aldkfdl).
Check mark over each element recalled correctly
You can present items orally to very young children
and those with hearing problems that have difficulty
with audio equipment.
Basal: starting point is on pg. 129. Read cut-off
scores to determine if go back to previous group
Ceiling: stop when child meets at or below the cut-off
score.
Test 7: Passage
Comprehension
 They should read the test passages silently. If read
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aloud, ask them to read silently. If continue aloud,
just ignore it.
Do not tell any words on this test
If gives a 2 word response, ask for a 1-word
response (unless 2 word response is listed as correct
in the book)
Do not penalize for articulation, dialect, or regional
speech differences.
Correct if differs only in verb tense or number
(singular vs. plural).
Incorrect if differs in that it changes part of speech
(verb to noun).
Test by complete pages until 5 lowest correct and 5
highest are incorrect
Group Project
 Review the WMLS-R printout found under the
assignments tab.
 What is the CALP in each language?
 Is CALP better in one language or the other?
 Look at English Oral Language Composite.
 How can SS be 91 (avg) and CALP be 3-4?
Describe how you might explain this to someone
else.
 What language do you test this child?
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English Language Learners - University of Nevada, Las Vegas