Accessibility & Accommodations for ELP Assessments

Each English learner participating in an English language proficiency (ELP) assessment should be able to participate under optimal testing conditions. Some students may need accessibility features that meet their individual needs, either embedded within a technology platform or non-embedded and provided by a human. 

Many ELP assessments now have levels of accessibility features that are responsive to individual needs. The levels include:

  • Universal features (such as embedded zoom or highlighting or non-embedded features such as magnification) are available to all students. 
  • Designated features, which may be embedded (such as a picture dictionary or glossary for some assessment domains) or non-embedded (such as English dictionaries), are available to any student, if needed. These features must be identified by an adult or team of adults before testing so that they can be available to the student.
  • Accommodations, either embedded or non-embedded, are changes in testing materials or procedures that allow English learners with disabilities to show their English skills (for example, a scribe to indicate student responses). 

According to regulations for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), states are to develop guidelines for the provision of appropriate ELP assessment accommodations that do not invalidate the scores from the assessment. English learners benefit when states develop clear guidelines.

Frequently Asked Questions

Special education legislation requires that Individualized Education Program (IEP) teams decide on the use of appropriate accommodations for an individual student with a disability. This legislation applies to all students with disabilities, including English learners. When determining appropriate accessibility features for a specific student, the IEP team should consider the designated features and accommodations that are available on the assessment, as well as whether the student uses the accommodation during instruction. States must develop accommodations guidelines for the ELP assessment that identify accommodations that do not invalidate a student’s score.