Equity for Limited English Proficient Students Regarding Assessment and Effectiveness of Testing Accommodations: A Study of Third Graders Open Access
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Abstract of DissertationThis study focused on the aspect of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) that require the inclusion of all limited English proficient (LEP) students in testing situations, simultaneously making an effort to close the achievement gap. NCLB indicates that each state is to assess students in a language and form that facilitates an accurate understanding of what LEP students know and can do. Using a representative sample of third grade students from a linguistically diverse school district in Virginia, this study was conducted to see if modified-English translation accommodations assist LEP students to demonstrate their mathematics content knowledge, concurrently eliminating language barriers. In Virginia, mandatory state assessments are administered in English and LEP students often encounter testing difficulties due to a lack of English proficiency. Low scores on these assessments result in LEP students being placed in inappropriate academic tracks, being retained an additional school year, and being offered limited academic opportunities, all resulting in a lack of confidence. In some cases, LEP students are unable to graduate.This study aimed to use an experimental mixed design to determine whether third grade LEP students perform better on mathematics assessments that are linguistically modified and translated into Spanish. The findings of this study suggested modified-English, translation accommodations improve LEP 1 & 2 students mathematics content knowledge. The modified-English, translation accommodation did not significantly improve LEP 3 & 4 student mathematics test scores. This indicated as a student's English proficiency improves, the modified-English, translation accommodation is not necessary. This study was intended to provide policy makers insight into whether modified-English translation would be considered a viable accommodation for the LEP population.