STEM Workshop

Modifying classroom tests in mathematics and science for English Learners

Presenters: Lia Plakans & Renka Ohta

Lia-Plakans-School-Pictures-2014-765Subject-matter tests, such as mathematics and science, often contain complex linguistic structures, vocabulary, and U.S. cultural knowledge that K-12 English language learners are not familiar with. Thus, ELs’ test performances are confounded by these factors, causing their performances to be considerably lower than that of native English speakers in all grades and subject areas. This workshop will introduce various types of test accommodations and modifications for ELs, which are intended to make test items more accessible and minimize negative effects of the linguistic and cultural challenges. The workshop facilitators will review research from state-mandated assessments with implications for classroom-based tests. The workshop will provide opportunities to implement modifications on sample test questions, such as math word problems, followed by discussion regarding challenges in practice and approaches to target different language and age levels.

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