“Simplified English”
Language Issues in
What is “simplified” English?
“Simplified” English is simplification of the
construct irrelevant language of the
Sentence structure
Verb tenses and forms
Directions for the test
Format of items
What is not “simplified” English?
“Simplified English” is NOT
changes to the construct/content
being tested.
Why use “simplified” English in
teacher-made tests?
• Increases linguistic access to test
• Decreases barrier of language proficiency
on student performance in content areas
• Useful in student portfolio to show student
is proficient in the objectives from that
content’s standard course of study
What language features are
difficult for English Language
What language features
affect comprehension?
Control Language Demand
Word frequency and familiarity
Word length
Sentence length
Passive voice (a sample was selected)
Length of nominals (last year’s class vice president)
Comparative Structures
Abedi,J. (2005). Language Issues in Item
Development, 377-398.
More language features
affecting comprehension…
Prepositional Phrases
Subordinate clauses
Conditional clauses (if)
Relative clauses
Abstract presentations
Negation (no, not, none, never)
Abedi,J. (2005). Language Issues in
Item Development, 377-398.
Let’s Practice
Original: A certain reference file contains
approximately six billion facts.
Revision: Joe’s company sold six billion
frequency/familiarity of vocabulary
Let’s Practice
Original: The weights of 4 objects were
Revision: Sue compared the weights of 4
passive voice
Let’s Practice
Original: William must buy enough paper to print
28 copies of a report that contains 64 sheets of
paper. Paper is only available in packages of
500 sheets. How many whole packages of
paper will he need to buy to do the printing?
Revision: William has to buy paper to print 28
copies of a report. He needs 64 sheets of paper
for each report. There are 500 sheets of paper
in each package. How many whole packages of
paper must William buy?
Language issues and the
• We must teach academic English to
prepare all students for success
• We must also show that LEP students are
proficient in the content.
Seeing with New Eyes
• Sometimes the art of discovery isn’t
finding new lands, it is seeing with new
- Marcel Proust

Simplified English