English Language Learner: Evaluation & Assessment

Instructor Name:

Dr. Karen Lea



Office Hours:

8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST Monday - Friday




Virtual Education Software


23403 E Mission Avenue, Suite 220F


Liberty Lake, WA 99019

Technical Support:




English Language Learner: Evaluation & Assessment was written to help teachers understand concepts and terms related to evaluating and assessing students whose first language is not English. This course discusses high-quality assessment and the scope of assessments, including initial placement, annual assessments, and exit assessments. This course ends with a discussion of classroom assessments, including accommodations for those who need language assistance.


This computer-based instruction course is a self-supporting program that provides instruction, structured practice, and evaluation all on your home or school computer. Technical support information can be found in the Help section of your course.



Course Materials (Online)


English Language Learner: Evaluation & Assessment


Virtual Education Software, inc. 2020, Revised 2022


Dr. Karen Lea



Academic Integrity Statement

The structure and format of most distance-learning courses presume a high level of personal and academic integrity in completion and submission of coursework. Individuals enrolled in a distance-learning course are expected to adhere to the following standards of academic conduct.


Academic Work

Academic work submitted by the individual (such as papers, assignments, reports, tests) shall be the student’s own work or appropriately attributed, in part or in whole, to its correct source. Submission of commercially prepared (or group prepared) materials as if they are one’s own work is unacceptable.


Aiding Honesty in Others

The individual will encourage honesty in others by refraining from providing materials or information to another person with knowledge that these materials or information will be used improperly.


Violation of these academic standards will result in the assignment of a failing grade and subsequent loss of credit for the course.



Level of Application

This course is designed as an informational course for K–12 teachers, administrators, parents, and related service personnel. Information discussed is designed to help you better understand second language acquisition and current educational models being used to educate English language learners. This course will allow you to compare and identify how school districts in your own area are implementing English language learning programs, handling current issues, and some of the practices teachers are using to educate students and communicate with parents/guardians.



Expected Learning Outcomes

As a result of taking this course, participants will be able to demonstrate their ability to:

1.      Identify bias and other ethical concerns in assessments.

2.      Apply knowledge of a variety of assessments.

3.      Apply knowledge of assessment procedures for ELLs.

4.      Apply knowledge of assessment accommodations for ELLs.

5.      Implement legal assessment requirements for identification, reclassification, and exit of ELLs from ELL programs.

6.      Assess ELLS using a variety of assessments.



Course Description

Information provided in this course has been divided into four chapters, which should be completed in the order in which they are presented in the program. Once you have completed these four chapters, you should have a better understanding of the concept of evaluating and assessing English language learners. You are strongly encouraged to read additional journal articles, books, and research materials outside the course material to gain a better understanding of current issues related to educating students who need language assistance.


Chapter 1: High-Quality Assessments

This chapter of the course focuses on the criteria for determining whether an assessment is a high-quality assessment. We will also discuss issues such as validity and culturally fair assessments.


Chapter 2: Initial Placement Assessments

Chapter 2 focuses on the initial placement assessments required by legislation. Included in the discussion are the accommodations needed for students learning English as a second language.


Chapter 3: Exceptional and/or Gifted

This chapter focuses on students who need language assistance and are also exceptional and/or gifted. Discussion will focus on legislative requirements and practical suggestions for the classroom.


Chapter 4: Classroom Assessments

Chapter four focuses on classroom assessments every educator can use to assess English language learners, including possible accommodations.



Student Expectations

As a student you will be expected to:

·         Complete all four information sections showing a competent understanding of the material presented in each section.

·         Complete all four section examinations, showing a competent understanding of the material presented.  You must obtain an overall score of 70% or higher, with no individual exam score below 50%, to pass this course.  *Please note: Minimum exam score requirements may vary by college or university; therefore, you should refer to your course addendum to determine what your minimum exam score requirements are.

·         Complete a review of any section on which your examination score was below 50%.

·         Retake any examination, after completing an information review, to increase that examination score to a minimum of 50%, making sure to also be achieving an overall exam score of a minimum 70% (maximum of three attempts). *Please note: Minimum exam score requirements may vary by college or university; therefore, you should refer to your course addendum to determine what your minimum exam score requirements are.

·         Complete a course evaluation form at the end of the course.




At the end of each chapter, you will be expected to complete an examination designed to assess your knowledge. You may take these exams a total of three times. Your last score will save, not the highest score.  After your third attempt, each examination will lock and not allow further access.  Your final grade for the course will be determined by calculating an average score of all exams.  This score will be printed on your final certificate.  As this is a self-paced computerized instruction program, you may review course information as often as necessary. You will not be able to exit any examinations until you have answered all questions. If you try to exit the exam before you complete all questions, your information will be lost. You are expected to complete the entire exam in one sitting.



Instructor Description

Karen Lea holds a Ph.D. in education. Dr. Lea has 15 years of experience teaching at the K–12 level and another 14 years’ experience teaching education courses at the undergraduate and post-graduate levels. Those 14 years in higher education included 6 years as a dean at a university and 7 additional years in charge of assessment and accreditation at a university. Currently, she is a lead program development owner at Western Governor’s University. Dr. Lea has been professionally published over 15 times and has served on over a dozen panels and boards, including serving on the NCATE (CAEP) Board of Examiners.



Contacting the Instructor

You may contact the instructor by emailing karen_lea@virtualeduc.com or by calling 509-891-7219 Monday through Friday. Calls made during office hours will be answered within 24 hours. Phone conferences will be limited to ten minutes per student, per day, given that this is a self-paced instructional program. Please do not contact the instructor about technical problems, course glitches, or other issues that involve the operation of the course.



Technical Questions

If you have questions or problems related to the operation of this course, please try everything twice. If the problem persists please check our support pages for FAQs and known issues at www.virtualeduc.com and also the Help section of your course.


If you need personal assistance then email support@virtualeduc.com or call 509-891-7219. When contacting technical support, please know your course version number (it is located at the bottom left side of the Welcome Screen) and your operating system, and be seated in front of the computer at the time of your call.


Minimum Computer Requirements

Please refer to VESi’s website: www.virtualeduc.com or contact VESi if you have further questions about the compatibility of your operating system.



Refer to the addendum regarding Grading Criteria, Course Completion Information, Items to be Submitted, and how to submit your completed information. The addendum will also note any additional course assignments that you may be required to complete that are not listed in this syllabus.



Bibliography (Suggested Reading)

Abedi, J. (2010). Performance assessments for English language learners. Stanford, CA: Stanford University, Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education [SCOPE]. https://edpolicy.stanford.edu/

Abedi, J., & Ewers, N. (2013, February). Smarter balanced assessment consortium: Accommodations for English language learners and students with disabilities. University of California, Davis. https://portal.smarterbalanced.org/library/en/accommodations-for-english-language-learners-and-students-with-disabilities-a-research-based-decision-algorithm.pdf

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Allison, C. S. (2016). An investigation of how districts in one state identify and serve gifted and talented English language learners [Undergraduate Honors Thesis]. Fayetteville, University of Arkansas. https://scholarworks.uark.edu/cieduht/12

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Bailey, A., & Kelly, K. (2012). Home language survey practices in the initial identification of English learners in the United States. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0895904811432137

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Breitholtz, K. (2020). Assessing English language learners at all levels with Edulastic. https://edulastic.com/blog/assessing-els-at-all-levels-with-edulastic/

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Campbell, M. C. (2021). Identifying and supporting gifted English language learners: Equitable programs and services for ELLs in gifted education. Routledge.

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Department of Education. (2016). Tools and resources for identifying all English learners. https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/oela/english-learner-toolkit/chap1.pdf

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Frankfort International School. (2017). Preparing ESL-friendly worksheets and tests. http://esl.fis.edu/teachers/support/tests.htm

Gottlieh, M. (2022). Assessment in multiple languages: A handbook for school and district leaders. Corwin.

Helman, L. Ittner, A. C., & McMaster, K. L. (2020). Assessing language and literacy with bilingual students: Practices to support English learners. The Guilford Press.

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Indiana Department of Education. (2021). Home language survey. https://www.in.gov/doe/files/Home-Language-Survey-English.pdf

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Kansas State Department of Education. (2021). Activity 2: Avoiding test bias. https://www.k-state.edu/ksde/alp/activities/Activity4-2.pdf

Kim, K. H., & Zabelina, D. (2015). Cultural bias in assessment: Can creativity assessment help? International Journal of Critical Pedagogy, 6(2), 129–149. http://libjournal.uncg.edu/ijcp/article/view/301/856

Klinger, J. (2018). Distinguishing language acquisition from learning disabilities. NYC Department of Education. http://whenl.weebly.com/uploads/4/9/5/2/49524833/language_acquisition_vs_learning_disability.pdf

Klinger, J., & Eppollito, A. M. (2014). English language learners: Differentiating between language acquisition and learning disabilities. Council for Exceptional Children.

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Course content is updated every three years. Due to this update timeline, some URL links may no longer be active or may have changed. Please type the title of the organization into the command line of any Internet browser search window and you will be able to find whether the URL link is still active or any new link to the corresponding organization’s web home page.

11/29/22  JN