Response to KATESOL Concerns From KSDE
August 5, 2003
Assistant Commissioner Alexa Pochowski Replies!
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
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
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.