Fairness in Testing: Designing, Using, and Evaluating Test Accommodations for English Learners

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Fairness in Testing: Designing, Using, and Evaluating Test Accommodations for English Learners

Chapter 12

Guillermo Solano-Flores

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Title information


This chapter provides a critical perspective of the fairness standards in the 2014 edition of Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing (American Educational Research Association, American Psychological Association, & National Council on Measurement in Education). It addresses the standards that are relevant to designing, using, and evaluating test accommodations for English learners (ELs)—students who are developing English as a second language while they continue developing their first language. It is intended to help test developers and test users understand the level of commitment and methodological rigor needed to create high-quality test accommodations for ELs. The author provides a conceptual foundation for judging how reasonably a given accommodation can be expected to contribute to minimizing construct-irrelevant variance, and he warns test users about the multiple ways in which test accommodations for ELs can be misused. With an emphasis on test translation, he submits that accommodations are effective only to the extent to which they match each student’s specific set of linguistic support needs. Examination of the cognitive activity elicited by accommodations, principled design, and the use of formal evaluation criteria is critical to fairly and validly testing EL students with accommodations.

Keywords: English learners; test accommodations; accessibility; test design; test translation

Publisher: American Educational Research Association
DOI Number: https://doi.org/10.3102/9780935302967_12
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