Kansas TESOL

Home KATESOL News Links Book Reviews KATESOL Executive Board Constitution and By-Laws Member Application ESOL Library


Response to KATESOL Concerns From KSDE

August 5, 2003

Assistant Commissioner Alexa Pochowski Replies!

Executive Board
Kansas Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages
c/o Bernie Altenhofen, Secretary


Thank you for sharing information on the importance of providing first language support in teaching academic content areas. In addition, you shared concerns regarding the development of a state assessment of English Language Development as prescribed by NCLB. The following is offered in response to your concerns:

  • The NCLB legislation requires the development of an English Language Proficiency assessment that assesses a child's proficiency in reading, writing, speaking and listening. Specifically, the IPT and LAS do not assess these four areas and cannot be used. As a result, a new assessment needed to be developed.
  • KS reviewed working with CCSSO in their collaborative effort to develop an appropriate assessment. The number of states involved is 18, not 38. In addition, the proposed cost was viewed to be excessive and would be a recurring cost for the life of the assessment and the time lag (3-4 year development phase) was felt to be prohibitive.
  • As CETE has produced both reliable and valid state assessments for the state of KS over the past 15 years, is recognized as a test developer across the nation, knows our state standards, and is extremely cost effective, a contract with them to develop an English Language Proficiency Assessment was recommended and approved by the State Board.
  • As is past practice with all state assessments, professionals from the field have been engaged in every development aspect of the assessment.
  • CETE does not develop standards; as with other content standards, the ESOL standards have been developed by the field.
  • Kansas ESOL educators assisted in writing the pilot assessment and CETE used them extensively. These professionals have the experience in the instruction of ELL and applied linguistics enabling CETE to develop an appropriate assessment.
  • Reports from the ELL professionals involved from the field reported that the graduate assistants used in the development of items were very positive. They reported that "the grad assistants really understand the research and are very knowledgeable even though they may not be experts on ELL issues."

  • Please know that the assessment continues to be under review. Expert reviewers, external to the state, will also review the ESOL standards as well as the assessment. In addition, reliability and validity studies will also be completed. We appreciate your feedback and will continue to work with the field to ensure that an appropriate assessment is developed and used in this state.

    Alexa Pochowski
    Assistant Commissioner, Kansas State Department of Education

    Note: This letter was sent by U.S. mail to Bernice Altenhofen, KATESOL Secretary/Treasurer, and was retyped verbatim for this Web version.

    This page was last updated on 08/12/2003.