US: Researcher Proposes a 'Weighted Index' for ELLs under NCLB

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Fri Jul 13 12:55:50 UTC 2007

Learning the Language

Mary Ann Zehr is an assistant editor at Education Week. She has
written about the schooling of English-language learners for more than
seven years and understands through her own experience of studying
Spanish that it takes a long time to learn another language well. Her
blog will tackle difficult policy questions, explore learning
innovations, and share stories about different cultural groups on her

Researcher Proposes a 'Weighted Index' for ELLs under NCLB

David J. Francis, a psychology professor at the University of Houston
and the director of the National Research and Development Center for
English Language Learners, has an interesting proposal for how
accountability provisions for English-language learners could be
improved in reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act. I hear
through my sources that congressional aides have invited at least one
expert on assessment of ELLs into their offices this summer to hear
advice on how to reauthorize the act--but I haven't heard if they've
contacted Mr. Francis about his views.

Mr. Francis proposes that the accountability system for ELLs under the
NCLB Act continue to incorporate both English-language-proficiency
tests and content-area tests. But he says that more weight should be
given to English-language-proficiency test scores when ELLs are new to
the country and don't know much English. As they spend more time in
the United States and become more proficient in the language, their
test scores on academic content tests should be given more weight, he

Mr. Francis' proposal for a change in the federal education law--along
with several others proposals for change--is described in a summary of
a roundtable discussion on ELLs and the NCLB Act that was hosted by
the Center on Education Policy in March. The summary of the meeting
was posted this summer.

Posted by Mary Ann Zehr on July 11, 2007 4:19 PM | Permalink

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