Multilingual Learners Testing, Assessment, and Evaluation

Published In

Handbook of Special Education Research, Volume II

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Education -- Research -- Methodology


The fair assessment of multilingual learners (MLs) is critical to ensuring equitable and effective instruction and decision-making for students from marginalized communities. Yet historically the process has been fraught with challenges. This chapter will highlight current research identifying the continuum of assessment practices used in schools and the key considerations when assessing ML students, both in their native language and/or English, that shifts the lens from identifying deficits to proactively identifying individual and group instruction and support needs. The chapter describes formative assessments and their use by collaborative teams in determining both individual growth and subgroup growth that can provide feedback on the efficacy of core instruction for all student groups. Additionally, the chapter examines the use of summative assessments and issues of validity and reliability with diverse populations. The chapter concludes with considerations for future research to improve the assessment of ML learners by employing more culturally responsive, data-based decision-making practices.


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