Assessment of English Language Learners
Grand Canyon University: ESL 534
August 8 2012
With the implementation of the No Child Left behind Act of 2001, states are required to assess ELL students to determine if students are making adequate progress towards their language development goals. The purpose of the NCLB act is to challenge students to meet higher standards, close the achievement gap, and ensure that all students have the same opportunities to reach their full potential. There has been much criticism regarding the NCLB act and the high stakes testing that has developed as a result, especially when it comes to ELL students. ELL students not only have to learn required content objectives as other students, but have the challenge of learning the English language simultaneously. Students, schools, and teachers are evaluated with standardized test annually to ensure the initial goals are met. The concern that many have with standardized testing is they do not show the overall progress of the student which may lead to inaccurate results regarding a student’s language proficiency.
English Language Learners are a diverse group with different languages, cultures, and backgrounds. Their language acquisition can be effected by many things including socio-economic factors and educational backgrounds. Understanding language acquisition theories can give critical insight into how assessments should be developed. Some of the popular theories of language acquisition include the threshold hypothesis, which states that a student’s language skills need to reach a critical level before students can benefit from bilingualism (Cummins, 1979) and the Critical/ Sensitive period hypothesis which states that students who are not exposed to a second language before puberty will never reach the proficiency of a native English speaker (Bailey & Heritage, 2010). According to Hakuta...