Including students who are deaf or hard-of-hearing in English language proficiency assessments: A review of state policies
This report from the National Center on Educational Outcomes addresses state participation and accommodation policies for English Language Proficiency (ELP) assessments for English language learner (ELL) students who are deaf or hard-of-hearing (HH). From the abstract: “Findings from this report indicate that across all domains, Sign Interpret Directions and Amplification Equipment were the least controversial accommodations, with the majority of states allowing their use on all assessment domains. Sign Interpret Questions and Sign Response were consistently prohibited across the majority of states.” The findings from this report show that “states’ policies on participation and accommodations on ELP assessments for ELLs who are Deaf/HH have continued to evolve and become more detailed” (p. v). However, there is still room for improvement for states. The authors discuss that States should: continue to evaluate the construct being measured by each domain; evaluate how specific accommodations impact the validity of student scores; re-evaluate controversial accommodations to make sure that the greatest numbers of students have access to the assessment while maintaining the construct being measured; and determine whether and in what circumstances selective participation by domain is appropriate for ELLs who are Deaf/HH.