Formative Language Assessment Records for ELLs
Assessment Tools > Assessmnet Toolbox

Assessment Toolbox

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The tier structure of the assessment toolbox will be similar to the benchmark test, i.e., each cluster will have three tier levels. The assessment toolbox will be developed in collaboration with Dr. Lorraine Valdez Pierce of George Mason University. Dr. Valdez Pierce has extensive experience in developing assessments for ELLs with large school districts. She is the author, co-author, or editor of over 70 books, book chapters, articles, and monographs, including the popular pioneering book co-authored with Mike O'Malley, Authentic Assessment for English Language Learners: Practical Approaches for Teachers (Longman, 1996). Her most recent book, released by the National Education Association in 2003, is titled Assessing English Language Learners .

As the name portrays, the assessment toolbox is a series of tests and teacher-friendly assessment materials that teachers can use to monitor their students' progress as they gain literacy in academic English. Unlike the benchmark tests, the materials in the assessment toolbox are designed to be used more frequently and serve as both assessment tools and templates for teachers to use in creating their own assessments. The following table shows the test format construction of the assessment toolbox.

Table: Assessment Toolbox Test Format

Toolbox Test Formats by Skill Domain
Rating Scale
Language of English Language Arts
& Writing
Language of Mathematics
Language of Science
Language of Social Studies

Three test formats are included in the assessment toolbox. A checklist is "a list of measurable dimensions of a performance or product with a place to record a simple 'yes' or 'no' judgment" (Gronlund, 1988). The checklists in the assessment toolbox will assess reading. Rating scales measure the degree to which a behavior is mastered using teacher or student judgments on a specific set of descriptions of behavior. Rubrics are "scoring guides that consist of designated levels with specified components consisting of defined criteria" (Gottlieb, et al., 2007). Rubrics developed for the assessment toolbox will focus on writing and will be guided by WIDA's writing rubric. Rating scales will inform the teacher, as well as the student, of the student's proficiency in reading or writing.

Dr. Pierce and the assessment toolbox development team will draw upon the rich sources of research available on the development of these classroom based measurement materials. For example, the Center for Applied Linguistics has extensive experience in the development of observational models for ELL instruction, e.g., the SIOP model (Echevarria, Vogt, Short, 2007). Dr. Margarita Calderon of Johns Hopkins University, with the support of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, has developed an ELL literacy program with an associated observation tool scored by PDAs called EXC-ELL OP® (Calderon 2007). In the development process, Dr. Pierce will draw upon many other resources as well as her own work and the work of other WIDA team members as well (Valdez Pierce, 2007 and Gottlieb, 2007).

Initially, two forms at each tier for each format will be created in each content area. Thus twenty-four checklists will be created in the initial development process. Six for English language arts--two each for tiers A, B, and C, six for mathematics, science and social studies, and so on. Sufficient tests will be created so that teachers have adequate numbers of tools to frequently monitor student progress. Not only will these assessment tools be available but training materials, anchor papers and exemplars to assist teachers in scoring them will be provided. A "teacher friendly" version of the test specifications will also be included along with training material on how to use them (Davidson & Lynch, 2002). Like the benchmark tests, individual forms in the assessment toolbox will be piloted, revised and prepared for formal field testing in the 2010-2011 school year.