Effects of High-Stakes Testing on English Language Learners Essay

903 Words Nov 12th, 2013 4 Pages
English language learners enrollment in the Council member districts has remained relatively stable over the past several years. In 2007-08, 1.1 million ELLs were enrolled in urban schools, accounting for 16.5 percent of total district enrollment. In 2009–10, 1.2 million ELLs were enrolled, accounting for 17.5 percent of total district enrollment (Uro & Barrio, p. 26, 2013). The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 required students in grades three through eight to be tested every year in reading and math. While NCLB now holds educators more accountable with student learning, it now also tests English language learners (ELLs) in content areas (Coltrane, 2002, p.1). This denotes a question of validity and reliability with assessment. The …show more content…
These skills include how to approach multiple-choice questions, how to pull out the main idea in the passage, etc. (Coltrane, 2002, p.2). When students are armed with a variety of test-taking strategies, they may feel more empowered to demonstrate their knowledge on assessments.
In an effort to improve ELLs learning, Denver Public Schools (DPS) has implemented the English Language Acquisition (ELA) Department. Teachers within the district are required to complete coursework geared for aiding ELLs in the mainstream classroom within their first two years of employment. In addition to educating teachers, DPS also offers a New Educator Academy and an ELA Summer Academy to offer additional support for ELLs across the district. This summer school academy allows students an additional three weeks of literacy education for five hours each day. DPS also requires new hires to teach during this summer academy alongside a mentor teacher who is already ELA qualified within the district and has a minimum of three years of teaching experience.
Many teachers across the nation feel that these high-stakes assessments are not reliable or valid for ELLs. This is partly due to the validity of timed assessments. ELLs’ have a lower reading fluency in English; therefore, time limits may affect their performance in a negative way when compared to non-ELLs (Educational

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