changing immigrant populations face the need to develop programs that are flexible enough to handle many different languages. They may lack the resources to easily assess the language skills of students from each linguistic background, and they may not be able to afford to offer accommodations that rely entirely or in part on the student’s native language (e.g., offering a native-language version of the test, allowing students to respond in their native language, or offering a glossary or translated directions).

The principal accommodations offered to English language learners are shown in Table 2-4.

TABLE 2-4 Testing Accommodations for English Language Learners



• Small group

• Extended testing time (same day)

• Individual administration

• Frequent, extra, longer breaks

• Separate location, study carrel

• Time of day most beneficial to student

• Preferential seating


• Teacher facing student

• Several (shorter) sessions


• Testing over several days (some extended time)


• Flexible scheduling (of subtests)



• Oral reading of questions in English

• Student dictates answer, uses scribe

• Explanation of directions

• Student response in native language

• Translation of directions


• Repetition of directions

• Student marks answers in test booklet

• Translation of test into native language


• Person familiar with student administers test

• Student types or uses machine

• Audio cassette


• Clarification of words (spelling, defining, explaining)


• Highlighting key words


• Oral reading of directions


• Use of an interpreter (sight translator)


• Bilingual version of the test


• Oral reading of questions in native language


• Simplified/sheltered English version of test


• Use of place markers to maintain place



• Use of bilingual word lists, dictionaries

• Out-of-level testing

• Use of brainstorming activities


SOURCE: Rivera et al. (2000, p. 34).

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