Testing requirements for ELL students
Are EL students required to take the PSSA?
In 2007, the U.S. Department of Education released guidance on participation of LEP students (ELs) in state assessments. This flexibility allows EL students in their first 12 months of enrollment in U.S. schools an option of taking the reading PSSA. A student’s enrollment in a school in Puerto Rico is not to be considered as enrollment in a U.S. school.
Those EL students who fall into the first category (EL and enrolled in a U.S. school after April 11, 2014), are considered to be in their first year in a U.S. school and are not required to take the PSSA ELA test. All EL students are required to participate in the mathematics PSSA and the science PSSA, with accommodations as appropriate. All EL students in grades K-12 are required to take the WIDA ACCESS for ELs English Proficiency Test.
The mathematics PSSA scores of EL students in their first year of enrollment in U.S. schools as defined above will not be used to determine performance (the percent proficient or higher) for federal accountability status. Their participation will be counted for federal accountability purposes.
Should first-year EL students choose to participate in the ELA PSSA assessment, their performance will not be included but their participation will be counted for federal accountability purposes. Should they choose not to participate, their lack of participation will not count against the school or district. Students who are expected to exit EL services in the current school year should be encouraged to take the ELA PSSA.
Are EL students required to take the Keystone Exams?
Yes. Following the previously discussed exceptions as outlined, eligible ELs will take the Keystone Exams for federal accountability purposes beginning in 2012-2013 and as a graduation requirement effective with the class of 2017. The same subject area participation guidelines outlined in the previous question for the ELA, mathematics and science PSSA tests are applied to the Keystone literature, biology and algebra I exams.
What accommodations are allowable for ELs?
Three separate accommodations are allowed:
- Word-to word translation dictionaries, without definitions and without pictures for mathematics PSSA, Keystone algebra I and the science PSSA or Keystone biology only; not for any part of the ELA PSSA or Keystone literature exam.
- Qualified interpreters/sight translators for mathematics PSSA or Keystone algebra I and science PSSA or Keystone biology only; not for any part of the ELA PSSA test (except for the writing prompts of the ELA PSSA writing section) or Keystone literature exam.
- Spanish/English mathematics and science PSSA and Keystone algebra I and biology exams.
All of these accommodations are voluntary and not mandatory.