or more before being required to take the test. The superintendent prevailed in the district court. It is unclear whether or how these requirements and disputes will be affected by a June 1998 California referendum that sharply limits bilingual education in the state's public schools.


A recent survey of state assessment programs for 1996–1997 (Council of Chief State School Officers, 1998) reported that only seven states do not permit accommodations in the administration of at least one assessment for English-language learners. The most common accommodations were giving tests to small groups (29 states), repeating of directions (28 states), allowing extra time (same day) (25 states), taking the test in a separate room (25 states) or alone in a study carrel (25 states), having a person familiar with the child's language and culture give the test (23 states), giving more time breaks (22 states), reading questions aloud in English (21 states), translating directions (19 states), extending the session over multiple days (15 states), simplifying directions (14 states), and using word lists or dictionaries (14 states). Ten states reported that they test students in a language other than English. Other accommodations included allowing student to respond in the native language to English questions, explaining directions, and oral reading of questions in the native language.

Other alternative assessment methodologies that have been suggested include using portfolios to collect a child's best work over time, developing computer-assisted assessments tailored to respond to language needs and content knowledge of students, extending scaffolding and sheltered instruction to assessments, dynamic assessment, and allowing English-language learners to display their knowledge using alternative forms of representation (e.g., showing math operations in numbers and knowledge of graphing in problem solving).

The survey indicated that 11 states currently have an alternative assessment in place for English-language learners in at least one assessment program. These range from a Spanish-language version of the Stanford 9 for students literate in Spanish, used in Arizona, to an option to local districts to determine their own alternative methods of assessment.

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