Accessibility & Accommodations for ELP Assessments

In the past, English learners (ELs), including those with disabilities, were provided access to participation in annual state English language proficiency (ELP) assessments through the use of accommodations. The emphasis on universally designed assessments was applied to ELP assessments just as it was applied to general assessments, as a way to increase access to ELP assessments for all ELLs, including those with disabilities.

Although ELP assessments can be either in a paper-pencil format or a technology-based format, technology-based assessments offer new ways to provide access to all ELLs. Many technology-based assessments are responsive to individual needs and have levels of accessibility features that include:

  • Universal features such as zoom and highlighting that are either embedded in the assessment and are immediately available for all ELs, or are non-embedded and provided via a human.

  • Designated features, which may be embedded (such as a picture dictionary or glossary for some domains) or non-embedded (such as English dictionaries), are available to any EL, if needed. These features must be determined before testing so that they can be available to the student.

  • Accommodations, which are changes in testing materials or procedures that allow students to show their English skills (for example, a scribe to indicate student responses) also may be embedded or non-embedded.

According to regulations for the Every Student Succeeds Act, states are to develop guidelines for the provision of appropriate ELP assessment accommodations that do not invalidate the scores from the assessment. ELs benefit when states develop clear guidelines.

Related Publications

NCEO State Surveys: 2016 Survey of States: State Activities Amid Evolving Educational Policies

Formats: PDF

Forum on Text Readers for Everyone on All Tests: Getting a Handle on What This Means

Formats: PDF

White Paper on Common Accessibility Language for States and Assessment Vendors

Formats: PDF

White Paper on English Language Learners with Significant Cognitive Disabilities

Formats: PDF

NCEO Brief: Making Accessibility Decisions for ALL Students (#11)

Formats: Online , PDF

Including Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired in English Language Proficiency Assessments: A Review of State Policies

Formats: PDF

Including Students who are Deaf or Hard-of-hearing in English Language Proficiency Assessments: A Review of State Policies

Formats: PDF

NCEO Brief: State Assessment Decision-Making Processes for ELLs with Disabilities (#9)

Formats: Online , PDF

Voices From the Field: Making State Assessment Decisions for English Language Learners With Disabilities

Formats: PDF

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities on State English Language Proficiency Assessments: A Review of 2011 State Policies

Formats: PDF

Assessment Principles and Guidelines for ELLs with Disabilities

Formats: Online , PDF