Developing Standards and an Assessment Together
In 2013, WestEd, the Understanding Language Initiative of Stanford University, and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) developed a set of English Language Proficiency (ELP) Standards that correspond to states' college- and career-ready (CCR) standards for English language arts, mathematics, and science. Using an Evidence-Centered Design (ECD) framework, the ELPA21 assessment is being developed, with test items that are aligned to the ELP Standards. The specifications are tightly linked to the definitions of evidence that stem from the ECD process.
The ELPA21 assessment system includes many interactive item types which we believe will help to provide a more accurate and reliable measure of students' English langauge proficiency. We anticipate that the ELPA21 assessment system will reduce the average turnaround time on reporting results, which will improve the efficiency of data collection, management, sharing, and reporting, and will reduce administrative burdens on school and district staff.
ELPA21 is delivered online, incorporating technology-enhanced items that allow students to indicate their responses in ways that differ from those of traditional item types (e.g., multiple-choice). The assessment platform is compatible with other college and career readiness assessment consortia platforms.
An Assessment for All Students
ELPA21 has incorporated accessibility and accommodations considerations since the beginning of test design and item development. The Administration, Accessibility, and Accommodations Task Management Team was involved in the training of item writers and Accessible Portable Item Protocol (APIP) review, and the development of plans for cognitive labs, pilot tests, and the Field Test. This group also developed the ELPA21 policies for accessibility features and accommodations.
Throughout the development and operational rollout of ELPA21, the consortium is gathering evidence to evaluate the technical rigor of the assessment system and the extent to which planned test uses are justified. UCLA’s National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST) and the ELPA21 Technical Advisory Committee oversee this evaluation, working with the ELPA21 Task Management Teams and other project partners. Specific areas of focus include:
- alignment of the assessment system to the ELP Standards
- fairness of test items and performance tasks for all students
- reliability of scores
- validity of score interpretations (ultimately including determinations of language proficiency and resulting placement decisions)
The ELPA21 blueprint provides guidance to test vendors in selecting items to administer to students so that the scores are valid for the defined purposes. The blueprint also informs teachers and other stakeholders about the meaning and accurate interpretation of student scores.
ELPA21's Theory of Action
A Theory of Action (ToA) describes how ELPA21 is fascilitating the move from current English language (EL) expectations and instructional practice to those necessary for ELLs to gain proficiency in the academic language used within math, science, and ELA, and to ultimately become college- and career-ready. The ToA describes how our mission is being carried out, aligning intended assumptions with the organizational context of ELPA21. It connects strategy to action and identifies the multiple dependencies required for the successful implementation of our vision. Please click here to view ELPA21's Theory of Action.