Theoretical, Empirical, and Practical Issues in Testing English Learners

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Theoretical, Empirical, and Practical Issues in Testing English Learners

Chapter 13

Samuel O. Ortiz and Jane Y. T. Wong

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In the United States, fairness in testing with individuals whose developmental experiences are not rooted in English, often referred to as bilinguals or English learners (ELs), has languished in the face of obstacles related to the absence of coherent theoretical frameworks, a body of incoherent research, and a lack of sound practice recommendations. Moreover, the fact that ELs of the same age may possess vastly different levels of development in language continues to stymie progress and innovation. This chapter discusses how these obstacles may be overcome by outlining a developmental perspective regarding language. Bringing clarity regarding the manner in which language development becomes disentangled from age allows exploration of a new organizational framework that addresses prior limitations while illuminating alternative directions for test development that hold significant promise for reaching higher standards of fairness in testing with ELs.

Keywords: fairness; English learners (ELs); bilingual evaluation; difference vs. disorder; exposure norms

Publisher: American Educational Research Association
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