LA 1.3 Assessing For Placement


Learning Outcome Pedagogical Intent Student Position

Articulate issues of assessment as they affect learners’ development of English language skills, their access to the Utah core curriculum, andtheir placement in appropriate programs.

Understand how to select and administer norm-referenced language proficiency instruments.

Assessment: 25 pts.

TA: 30 Minutes

Teachers can appropriately understand and use testing for ELs to appropriately place and teach their students.

Students have participated in discussing a power point on assessment responsibilities for assessment and placement of English language learners. They will review different types of assessments and consider theinformation gleaned from them.


  1. Turn to page 38 in the Assessing English Language Learners book by Gottlieb. Review the chart and discuss how what is proposed does or does not match the process used in your school.
  2. Working in pairs, one pair will Review Resources 1.1 , 1.2 and 1.3 (pp.32-34) and the other pair will review 4, 1.5. 1.6 (pp. 35-37) Note the purpose and use of each resource. Identify what information it provides you about ELs performance.
  3. Now as a whole group consider the relationship between Resource 1.7 on page 38 and the other Resources you have reviewed.
  4. Refer to the Hellman chart which provides an overview of potential assessment that could be used in assessing and tracking the language development of ELs in your classroom. Use the following link to access and download the Hellman chart. Highlight the ones you know (collectively).
  5. Return to the chart on page 38 and make notes about which assessments you could use in the identification and placement process. Note what information the assessment would give and how could you use it to track ELs learning.
  6. How do your schools attend to the process on pg. 38? How might what you learned here improve that process? How could you educate others in your educational setting about what you learned in this activity?
  7. Identify an assessment you learned about that you might use with your students. Try it out and use this experience for HW 1.1.


Types of Assessments with English Language Learners 

Federal Mandated Assessments 

Assessment Details 
Home Language Survey 

Purpose: To identify potential LEP students.

Assessment question: Is the student a language minority student?

Sample tool: See in Recommended Resources.

English language proficiency test

Purpose: To keep schools accountable for LEP subgroup’s progress toward English language proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing.

Assessment question: What is the student’s English language proficiency level?

Sample tool: ACCESS for ELLs test

State academic achievement tests

Purpose: To keep schools accountable for LEP subgroup’s meaningful access to the mainstream curriculum and progress toward state academic standards in Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies.

Assessment question: Has the student met grade level expectations in the content area?

Sample tool: MAP test (Missouri)

Placement Test

Purpose: To obtain baseline ELP score; to recommend suitable forms of instructional support.

Assessment question: What is the student’s English language proficiency level upon entry to the district?

Sample tool: W-APT

 Screening Test

Purpose: To obtain baseline ELP score; to recommend suitable forms of instructional support.

Assessment question: What is the student’s English language proficiency level upon entry to the district?

Sample tool: W-APT

Progress monitoring

Purpose: To evaluate the efficacy of placement, language support, and interventions.

Assessment question: Is the student making progress with the specific skills necessary to be successful in the mainstream education program?

Sample method: Records review, team meeting

Standards-based report cards

Purpose: To inform parents of grade level expectations and their child’s progress toward the goals of both standard and supplemental instruction.

Assessment questions: Is the student on target to meet the grade level expectations? Is the student meeting the benchmarks of English language proficiency? Has the student achieved the goals of supplemental instruction?

Sample tool: See in Recommended Resources.

Assessment portfolio

Purpose: To supplement one-shot tests with fair, valid, robust, authentic evidence of standards-based learning.

Assessment question: Specific question can vary. The portfolio is designed to document evidence for the specific assessment question.

Sample tools: Item descriptions, scoring guide, rubric

Writing Assessment

Purpose: To evaluate writing against the grade-level Language Arts and English Language Proficiency Standards.

Assessment questions: Does the writing sample evidence grade level expectations for academic writing? Does the writing sample evidence ELP writing benchmarks?

Sample tools: Normed writing prompt, scoring guide, benchmark papers, rubric


Evaluation of the instructional environment

Purpose: To evaluate whether the instructional environment is conductive to language and literacy development.

Assessment question: Does the classroom environment have the recommended qualities?

Sample tool: ELLCO

Classroom observation protocol

Purpose: To observe the features of instruction that have known benefits for ELLs’ content learning and language development.

Assessment question: Are the recommended features of instruction evident?

Sample tool: SIOP

ELL program evaluation

Purpose: To report on the district’s existing needs, available resources, and the efficacy of ELL programs as evidenced by student outcomes (AMAO 1, AMAO 2, AYP).

Assessment question: Is the program effective with serving the needs of ELLs?

Possible formats: Self-study report; external evaluation team report

Intake Assessment 

Purpose: To plan instruction and learning support.

Assessment question: What are the student’s needs (personal, linguistics, academic), strengths, weaknesses?

Sample tools: Academic records, test score reports, interview, L1 writing sample, autobiography, dialog journal

Benchmark Tests

Purpose: To ascertain that the student is on target for grade level reading proficiency.

Assessment question: Is the student’s reading performance within the expected grade level norms?

Sample tools: Running records, Comprehensive Reading Inventory (CRI; Cooter et al. 2007)

Formative classroom assessment

Purpose: To inform instruction.

Assessment question: Has the student achieved the learning objective? What additional instruction may be necessary?

Sample tools: Checklists, exit slips, self-evaluations, surveys, teacher observation notes, sample student work

Summative classroom assessment

Purpose: To evaluate whether the student has achieved the learning objectives of the instructional unit.

Assessment question: Has the student achieved the learning objectives?

Sample tool: End-of-unit tests, teacher-made quizzes, formal writing tasks, oral presentations, projects

Teacher work sample 

Purpose: To assess the efficacy of instruction through self-evaluation of planning, instructional activities, and students’ learning gains.

Assessment question: Are there significant measurable learning gains as a result of instruction?

Sample tool: Instructional unit with analysis of pre-and post-test results of LEP subgroup


Purpose: To keep individual students accountable and provide them feedback on their progress toward grade level learning expectations.

Assessment question: To what extent has the student met specific learning criteria?

Sample tool: Differentiated rubrics

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