Selected Annotated Bibliography on Language Minority Assessment





Ascher, C. "Testing Bilingual Students: Do We Speak the Same Language?" PTA Today (March 1991, pp. 7-9).

Discusses cultural and linguistic bias issues in bilingual testing, options for administering tests to bilingual students, and problems associated with these options. Includes a short description of an alternative, "dynamic assessment."

Ascher, C. Assessing Bilingual Students for Placement and Instruction (ERIC Clearinghouse on Urban Education, #65, May 1990).*

Explains the difficulty of assessing a bilingual student's dominant language and the influence of one language on another, as well as effects of this influence on educational and psychological assessment. Discusses misdiagnosis due to linguistic bias in tests. Notes distinction between language competence and communicative competence, and briefly presents dynamic assessment as an alternative to standardized tests.

Baca, L. & Cervantes, H.T. The Bilingual Special Education Interface (Columbus, OH: Merrill, 1989).

Primarily focuses on major needs of LEP** exceptional children. Provides models, curriculum, and strategies for diagnosing and educating these children. Chapter 7 deals with language assessment, and Chapter 8 with assessment procedures. These chapters cover criteria for selecting standardized tests for LEP exceptional children, effects of testing these children in English, and appropriate methods for assessing language proficiency.

Baker, K. & Rossell, C. "An Implementation Problem: Specifying the Target Group for Bilingual Education." Educational Policy (Vol. 1, #2, pp. 249-270, 1987).

Describes problem that bilingual children who need transitional bilingual education are not being correctly identified. Reviews federal court decisions, laws, and regulations pertaining to placement in bilingual education. Finds arbitrary use of tests and noncompliance with federal regulations. Discusses problems of misclassification and mentions low socioeconomic status as a factor contributing to misclassification.

Bilingual Education Office, California Department of Education. Assessing Students in Bilingual Contexts: Provisional Guidelines (Sacramento, CA: Author, 1994).

Guidelines for student testing and assessment follow many of the recommendations made by critics of using standardized tests with LEP** students, such as assessing students in both languages, not using translated tests, and separately developing assessments for LEP students. Calls for not exempting LEP students from regular assessment, improved staff development for teachers, and better communication with parents about the value of assessment in two languages.

Bilingual Special Education Perspective (Newsletter available from University of Texas, Department of Special Education, Ed. Bldg. #306, Austin, TX 78712-1290).

Biannual newsletter includes regular discussions of the role of assessment in bilingual special education, plus book reviews and research reports.

California Learning Record (Spanish forms). (El Cajon, CA: Center for Language in Learning, 1994). Order from 10610 Quail Canyon Rd., El Cajon, CA 92021; 619-443-6320.

Integrates instruction and assessment of literacy from a whole language perspective. Adapted from the Primary Language Record, which was developed for use with multilingual school populations. The CLR provides handbooks for teachers in grades K-6 and 6-12, forms for documenting student learning, and scales and directions for evaluation and gauging student progress. The forms and scales are now available in Spanish, making them more useful in classrooms in which Spanish is spoken and for working with Spanish-speaking parents.

Canales, J. "Innovative Practices in the Identification of LEP Students." In Focus on Evaluation (Volume 2, 1992) [see below].

Describes current practices in various states to identify LEP** students. Provides a review of the literature of recommended practices used in classifying LEP children. Offers an alternative sociolinguistic model involving data collection in three areas: oral language proficiency, social data, and academic data.

Carpenter, L.J. Bilingual Special Education: An Overview of Issues (National Center for Bilingual Research, Los Alamitos, CA, Aug. 1983).*

Explains legal bases in special and bilingual education, defines the population served by bilingual special education, and gives estimates of the number of children that fit into this category. Describes instruments used for assessing language dominance and proficiency. Discusses the nature of the interaction between tests and cultural and linguistic differences. Cites future research directions.

Chavers, D. & Locke, P. The Effects of Testing on Native Americans (Paper for the National Commission on Testing and Public Policy, 1989). Obtain from Native American Scholarship Fund, 3620 Wyoming Blvd., NE, Suite 208-C, Albuquerque, NM 87111; $3.00.

Gives background on Native populations and languages in the U.S. Discusses problems of using tests normed on majority populations and how tests contribute to educational and social problems for American Indian students.

Cheng, L. "The Identification of Communicative Disorders in Asian-Pacific Students." Journal of Childhood Communication Disorders (Vol. 13, #1, pp. 113-19, 1990).

Proposes and describes a new type of assessment for use with Asian-Pacific students to assess communicative disorders. Called "ethnographic assessment," this alternative to standardized language proficiency tests allows the student to demonstrate genuine communication in a natural environment for diagnostic purposes.

Clements, B. Limited English Proficiency: Recommendations for Improving the Assessment and Monitoring of Students (Washington, DC: Council of Chief State School Officers, 1992).

Outlines recommended practices for assessment in educational programs for students with limited English proficiency. Draws policy implications at federal and state levels.

Cummins, J. "Tests, Achievement, and Bilingual Students." Focus (National Clearinghouse of Bilingual Education, #9, Feb 1982).*

Explains problem of misusing test scores for diagnosis and labeling due to cultural and linguistic biases of tests. Describes common misconceptions about how to best educate and assess bilingual students, defines "context-embedded" v. "context-reduced" language proficiency, and presents a continuum showing the relationship between language proficiency and academic achievement.

Damico, J. "Performance Assessment of Language Minority Students." In Focus on Evaluation (Volume 1, 1992) [see below].

Concludes that performance assessment of language minority students ought to target and evaluate true linguistic performance. Explains difficulties in the process. Suggests a more descriptive performance assessment approach, allowing emphasis on authentic behaviors.

DelVeechio, A; Guerrero, M; Gustke, C; Martinez, P; Navarrete, C; Nelson, C; Wilde, J. Whole School Bilingual Education Program: Implications for Sound Assessment. (Washington, DC: National Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1994).

Represents an effort to assist bilingual educators in responding to Goals 2000 and Title I and Title VII of the 1994 Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Provides a model of how characteristics of effective schools relate to assessment practices. Addresses issues related to program context, program implementation, and student performance.

Duran, R. "Assessment and Instruction of At-Risk Hispanic Students." Exceptional Children (Vol. 56, #2, pp. 154-8, 1989a)* [this whole issue deals with bilingual education and assessment].

Summarizes existing problems of standardized tests when used with Hispanic students. Focuses on linguistic bias, discrepancy between language skills assessed in standardized tests versus natural communicative activities, and lack of instructional validity of standardized tests. Describes two alternatives, "assisted performance" and "dynamic assessment."

Duran, R. "Testing of Linguistic Minorities." In R. Linn (Ed.), Educational Measurement, Third Edition (New York: Macmillan, 1989b, pp. 573-587).

Gives overview of major issues and progress made in the following areas of the assessment of linguistic minorities: language proficiency assessment, cognitive assessment, assessment of school achievement, special education assessment, and assessment for college admissions. Mentions cultural and socioeconomic influences on thinking and test performance.

Duran, R. "Testing of Hispanic Students: Implication for Secondary Education." (Santa Barbara, CA: Linguistic Minority Research Project and Graduate School of Education, University of California, Santa Barbara, 1988).

Presents evidence of the problem of testing Hispanics for tracking purposes. Defines implications of tracking, discusses factors influencing Hispanic test performance, and presents Hispanic educational achievement data, including state mandated testing program data. Emphasizes misdiagnosis of Hispanics for special education based on intelligence test scores and describes an alternative, "dynamic assessment."

ERIC Clearinghouse on Handicapped and Gifted Children, Assessing the Language Difficulties of Hispanic Bilingual Students (ERIC Abstract #23, August 1989).*

Summarizes problems of using standardized tests with bilingual students, with emphasis on inability of most tests to differentiate between behaviors associated with normal second language acquisition and those related to language pathology. Discusses difficulty of accurately assessing language dominance, the language in which a bilingual student is most proficient.

Estrin, E. T. "Alternative Assessment: Issues in Language, Culture, and Equity."Knowledge Brief, #11 (San Francisco: Far West Laboratory, 1993).

Summary of many important issues in the current assessment reform movement. Provides information for considering equity issues. Notes that all assessment presumes cultural experiences and values. Recommends portfolio and performance assessments in the multilingual or multicultural classroom, but cautions that such assessment may not be compatible with social experiences and community practices for some students.

Figueroa, R. A. "Best Practices in the Assessment of Bilingual Children." In A. Thomas & J. Grimes (Eds.), Best Practices in School Psychology (Washington, DC: National Association of School Psychologists, 1990, pp. 93-106).

Reviews historical and contemporary issues relevant to testing bilingual students. Critiques and reviews practices in the measurement of intelligence with bilingual children. Concludes that assessment takes longer for bilingual than for monolingual children and relies more on observation and judgment by the evaluator.

Figueroa, R.A. "Psychological Testing of Linguistic-Minority Students: Knowledge Gaps and Regulations." Exceptional Children (Vol. 56, #2, pp. 145-52, 1989) [this whole issue deals with bilingual education and assessment].

Takes position that no one knows when a child whose primary language is not English is ready to be tested only in English. Discusses research dealing with acquisition of academic English proficiency and effects of bilingualism on mental processing. Makes case that these factors are not adequately considered when testing bilingual students.

Figueroa, R.A. "Test Bias and Hispanic Children." Journal of Special Education (Vol. 3, #4, pp. 431-40, 1983).

Examines issue of cultural bias in the testing of Hispanic children; criticizes existing models for examining bias in psychometric tests; and cites problem of misdiagnosis of Hispanics as mentally retarded based on low school-based test scores.

First, J.M. & Willshire Carrera, J. New Voices: Immigrant Students in U.S. Public Schools (Boston: National Coalition of Advocates for Students, 1988).

Discusses assessment and placement of bilingual students and danger of high-stakes standardized testing. Presents reasons why immigrant students fluent in English do not score as well on standardized tests as do native English-speaking students. Includes comments by teachers, researchers, attorneys, parents, and others who have witnessed the effects of testing. Also describes: use of test scores as accountability measures, politics surrounding test performance, tracking and low expectations of immigrant students by school personnel, and retention or inappropriate placement of students.

Focus on Evaluation and Measurement. Proceedings of the Second National Research Symposium on Limited English Proficient Student Issues (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Bilingual Education and Minority Languages Affairs, 1992, 2 Vols.).*

Compilation of papers from the Second National Research Conference sponsored by the Office of Bilingual Education and Minority Languages Affairs. Documents focus on the role of assessment in relation to accountability and program improvement at the federal, state, and local levels. Authors believe that the core of the school reform movement is the dissemination of innovations in evaluation and measurement. Papers by Damico, French, Ortiz, Canales, and Geisinger are listed individually in this bibliography.

French, R. "Portfolio Assessment and LEP Students." In Focus on Evaluation (Volume 1, 1992) [see above].

Presents arguments for alternative forms of assessment. Recommends the use of portfolio assessment in the evaluation of LEP** students. Argues for alternative assessments which show what LEP students know and are able to do. Concerned with validity and reliability in assessments used to evaluate bilingual students.

Gándara, P. & Merin, B. "Measuring the Outcomes of LEP** Programs: Test Scores, Exit Rates, and Other Mythological Data." Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis (Vol. 15, #3, Fall 1993).

Studies use of test data, reclassification, and exit rates of LEP students as means of determining rate of academic progress and second language acquisition for different types of students with LEP. Finds tests inadequate for policy needs. Recommends a national definition of LEP, an ongoing authentic evaluation of each child's academic progress, and a national effort to develop and identify some assessments in language proficiency and academic achievement for program comparisons.

Geisinger, K. F. "Testing Limited English Proficient Students for Minimum Competency and High School Graduation." In Focus on Evaluation (Volume 2, 1992) [see above].

Explains that states have no consistent procedure to assess LEP** students on statewide or district-level minimum competency examinations. Claims most statewide competency tests measure cumulative knowledge, and therefore, are not helpful in diagnosis and instruction.. Argues that competency tests should be useful in improving the education of LEP students and ought to be tied to the curriculum. Suggests examiners be trained to test LEP students and to consider language skills, acculturation, and socioeconomic factors in assessing an individual's level of functioning.

Geisinger, K. F. (Ed.), Psychological Testing of Hispanics (Washington, D.C. : American Psychological Association, 1992).

Book based on a conference. Focuses on the proper use of tests with Hispanics. Contains four parts : Part One considers technical, social, legal and other broad issues. Part Two, on educational assessment, addresses test bias, higher education admission, and alternative assessments of individual learning. Part Three examines testing for employment purposes, while Part Four considers assessment of acculturation and clinical assessment issues.

Gónzalez, V., Bauerle, P., & Félix-Holt, M. "Assessment of Language-Minority Students." NABE News (June 15, 1994, pp.13-15).

Summarizes how to assess language minority students better, based on the National Association of Bilingual Education's 1994 Conference. Proposes six theses for assessment with bilingual children: testing in two languages; assessing using familiar, daily-life experiences in the assessment items; individualizing assessment; using multiple measurement; taking into consideration the evaluator's background; and using verbal and non-verbal assessment procedures.

Harris Stefanakis, E. Whose Judgment Counts?: Assessing Bilingual Children, K-3 (Heinemann, 1998).

This book provides teachers with the skills needed to make informed assessments of bilingual children - examining social, cultural, and language issues first, then focusing on learning. It's stories convey the intricacies of classroom assessment and provide real-life examples of what effective teachers know about assessing young children.

Hembree, R. "Correlates, Causes, Effects, and Treatment of Test Anxiety." Review of Educational Research (Vol. 58, #1, Spring 1988).

This meta-analysis of 562 studies shows that test anxiety causes poor performance and that students with high test anxiety hold themselves in lower esteem than do those who are less test anxious. The aptitudes of individual test-anxious students are consistently misinterpreted and undervalued. It was found that Hispanics have higher test anxiety than whites at all ages.

Hilliard, A.G. "Ideology of IQ." In A. G. Hilliard (Ed.), Testing African American Students (Morristown, NJ: Aaron Press, 1991, pp. 136-145) [reprint of Negro Educational Review, Vol. 38, #2-3, April-July 1987].

Presents view that IQ tests are not only culturally and linguistically biased and misused for diagnosis, prediction, and classification, but are inherently inadequate and useless in education.

Hoover, M.R., Politzer, R.L., & Taylor, O. "Bias in Reading Tests for Black Language Speakers: A Sociolinguistic Perspective." (In Hilliard, see above, pp. 81-98).

Details language-related bias in standardized tests against speakers of non-standard English, including phonological (sound), syntactical (structural), and lexical (word choice and vocabulary) biases. Consequences of bias include school program misplacement and tracking resulting in inadequate education for students who are not white middle- to upper-class. Eliminating these biases is important for reducing educational and societal biases against working class and minority children.

Keller, G.D., Deneen, J.R., & Magallan, R.J. Assessment and Access: Hispanics in Higher Education (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1991).

Collection of papers discussing various issues in testing Hispanics for access to higher education and some programs developed to deal with these issues. Topics include cultural and linguistic bias, differential functioning of test items, and alternative types of assessment.

Lacelle-Peterson, M. W. & Rivera, C. "Is It Real for All Kids? A Framework for Equitable Assessment Policies for English Language Learners." Harvard Educational Review (Vol. 64, #1, Spring 1994, pp. 55-73).

Discusses the pros and cons of testing students with instruments not validated for them. Argues that the type of assessment reform suggested for monolinguals may not be the type of reform which appropriately assesses English language learners (ELLs). Provides caution on performance assessment, such as paying attention to the role of language in the scoring criteria. Recommends bilingual programs that provide opportunity for ELLs to become biliterate.

Lam, T.C.M. & Gordon, W.I. "State Policies for Standardized Achievement Testing of Limited English Proficient Students." Education Measurement: Issues and Practice (Winter 1992, pp. 18-20).

Analysis of survey shows lack of state policies and guidelines on testing students with LEP,** which probably introduces bias in testing these students. Students are often inappropriately tested. Finds little test data on appropriateness of tests for students with LEP. Recommends further research and the development of guidelines.

Lupi, M.H. & Woo, J. "Issues in the Assessment of East Asian Handicapped Students." Diagnostique (Vol. 14, #3, pp. 147-58, 1989).

Discusses linguistic and cultural bias issues, and the cultural similarities and differences that are important for evaluators to consider when testing East Asian students. Reviews tests commonly used with this population.

Mestre, J.P. & Royer, J.M. "Cultural and Linguistic Influences on Latino Testing." In G. Keller, J. Deneen, & R. Magallan (Eds.), Advances in Assessment and Their Application to Latino College Students Access (Stony Brook, NY: State University of New York Press, 1988).

Discusses ways in which culture and language proficiency affect cognitive performance. Describes the adverse effects of culturally unfamiliar material on minorities' test scores and learning, and mentions low socioeconomic status as an additional factor to consider. Proposes an assessment procedure for students acquiring a second language, called the Sentence Verification Technique. Describes this technique's rationale, scoring and interpretation, reliability and validity, and use with bilingual students.

Moya, S. S. & O'Malley, J. M. "A Portfolio Assessment Model for ESL." The Journal of Educational Issues of Language Minority Students (Vol. 13, Spring 1994, pp. 13-36).

Initiates guidelines for use of portfolio assessment with LEP** students in elementary and secondary settings. Provides a rationale for portfolios and includes a portfolio assessment model for English as a Second Language (ESL) classes.

Navarrete, C., Wilde, J., Nelson, C., Martinez, R., & Hargett, G. Informal Assessment in Educational Evaluation: Implications for Bilingual Education Programs (National Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education, Summer 1990, 24 pages).*

Presents concerns with standardized testing in bilingual education programs and offers informal assessment techniques as an alternative. Defines informal assessment, describes examples of both structured and unstructured informal assessment, and explains various scoring methods for these assessments. Gives guidelines for using portfolios in bilingual education programs.

Nutall, E.V., Landurand, P.M., & Goldman, S.R. "A Critical Look at Testing and Evaluation from a Cross-Cultural Perspective." In P. Chinn (Ed.), Education of Culturally and Linguistically Different Exceptional Children (ERIC Clearinghouse on Handicapped and Gifted Children, #P292, 1984).*

Describes problem of distinguishing an educational disability from a cultural or linguistic difference. Reviews legislation in this area. Defines "nondiscriminatory assessment," presents methods for reducing biases, and lists common assessment practices.

O'Connor, M.C. "Aspects of Differential Performance by Minorities on Standardized Tests: Linguistic and Sociocultural Factors." In B.R. Gifford (Ed.), Test Policy and Test Performance: Education, Language, and Culture (Norwell, MA: Kluwer, 1989).

    Comprehensive review of existing literature and research perspectives on standardized tests. Discusses policy issues, problems with test translations, linguistic and cultural bias in items, and sociocultural influences on test- taking.Book has chapters dealing with assessment of minorities in higher education and employment.

Oller, J. W. & Damico, J. S. "Limiting Bias in the Assessment of Bilingual Children." In Hamayan, E. V., & Damico, J.S. (Eds.), Theoretical Considerations in the Assessment of LEP Students (Austin, TX: Proeditions, 1991, pp. 77-110).

    Proposes a theory of language proficiency based on the work of C.S. Peirce, which entails assessment of language learners based on observational behaviors. Claims that performance assessment of language minority students should actually target and evaluate true linguistic performance, requiring detailed empirical study. Suggests a more descriptive, individualized performance assessment approach allows for authentic behaviors.

Olmedo, E. "Testing Linguistic Minorities." American Psychologist (Vol. 36, #10, pp. 1078-85, 1981).

Points to a number of factors that must be recognized when testing linguistic minorities: social, economic, and political realities facing these groups, and linguistic and cultural factors. Describes the System of Multicultural Pluralistic Assessment (SOMPA) as an alternative to standardized testing. Reviews test translation, assessment of language dominance, and examiner variables.

Ortiz, A. "Assessing Appropriate and Inappropriate Referral Systems for LEP Special Education Students." In Focus on Evaluation (Volume 1, 1992) [see above].

Explains implications of lack of educational progress by Hispanics and other language minority students for special services, which results in the over-representation of LEP** students in programs for learning disabled. Discusses referral and prereferral testing process. Suggests how these might be made more effective for LEP students in the regular classroom and in collaborative school-community relationships.

Pennock-Roman, M. The Status of Research on the Scholastic Aptitude Test and Hispanic Students in Postsecondary Education (Educational Testing Service, Princeton, NJ 08541, 1988).

Reviews research on differences between Hispanic and Anglo groups on the SAT. Discusses factors associated with mean group differences on the SAT, item formats and content that produce differential performance for the two groups, predictive validity of admissions tests such as the SAT for Hispanic college students, and differential access to test preparation for the two groups. Author believes the largest barrier for access to college for Hispanics is inadequate guidance and lack of resources due to lower socioeconomic status and uneducated parents.

Pennock-Roman, M. "New Directions for Research on Spanish-Language Tests and Test-Item Bias." In M. A. Olivas, M.A. (Ed.), Latino College Students (New York: Teachers' College Press, 1986).

Discusses test content issues for Hispanics, including inadequacies of culture-free and culture-specific tests and of tests translated from English to Spanish. Summarizes research on two Spanish achievement tests (The Prueba de Aptitud Academica and The Prueba de Admision para Estudios Graduados). Presents methods for detecting item discrepancy, bias and unfairness, and summarizes research in these areas.

Royer, J.M. & Carlo, M.S. "Assessing the Language Acquisition Progress of Limited English Proficient Students: Problems and a New Alternative." Applied Measurement in Education (Vol. 4, #2, pp. 85-113, 1991).

Reviews cultural and linguistic influences on test performance and describes current procedures used with bilingual students. Stresses need for new types of tests and describes the Sentence Verification Technique (SVT). Presents methods and results of a study using SVT, with discussion of its possible uses in transitional bilingual education programs.

Schmitt, A.P. "Language and Cultural Characteristics That Explain Differential Item Functioning for Hispanic Examinees on the Scholastic Aptitude Test." Journal of Educational Measurement (Vol. 25, #1, Spring 1988).

ETS researcher finds that Hispanics perform better on items about subjects of particular interest to Hispanics, such as a question about Mexican-American women. They perform better on true cognates (words that have common roots in the two languages) and worse on homographs (words that are spelled alike but have different meanings). Discusses analogy items that disadvantage Hispanic test-takers.

Schmitt, A.P. & Dorans, N.J. "Differential Item Functioning for Minority Examinees on the SAT." (Paper for the American Psychological Association annual meeting, August, 1987)

ETS researchers find that when item content is of special interest to an ethnic group, members of that group score unexpectedly well on the item. Speededness is also a factor in blacks' and Hispanics' lower scores on the SAT. Homographs disadvantage blacks, Hispanics, and Asian-Americans.

Sosa, A.S. Assessment of Language Minority Students (San Antonio, TX: Regional Hearing on Education of Hispanics, U.S. Dept. of Education, April 1990). Obtain from Alicia Salinas Sosa, Intercultural Development Research Association, 5835 Callaghan, Suite 350, San Antonio, TX 78228, (512) 684-8180.

Presents evidence of the negative impact of testing on Hispanic students with emphasis on the thwarting of educational opportunities and tracking due to the use of tests for labeling, categorization, and segregation. A vicious cycle of low expectations and fulfillment of those expectations are perpetuated by existing testing. Concludes that existing testing procedures clearly contribute to a much lower quality education than Hispanic students deserve, thus increasing the drop-out rate for these students. Includes implications and recommendations for future research.

Sosa, A.S. "Bilingual Education: Heading into the 1990s: The U.S. Perspective." The Journal of Educational Issues of Language Minority Students (Vol. 10, Special Issue, Spring 1992).

Discusses changes in the focus of bilingual education programs since passage of the Bilingual Education Act of 1968. Points out differences in students in these programs today from time act was passed. Identifies current research and program elements and issues for the 1990s that should be addressed. Covers use of tests for labeling and sorting and the incidence of retention due to these test uses.

Sosa, A.S. The Impact of Testing on Hispanics (Proceedings of a National Hearing co-sponsored by the National Commission of Testing and Public Policy and the Intercultural Development Research Association, San Antonio, TX, October, 1988). Obtain from author at above address.

Excellent compilation of abstracts and written testimony from the proceedings of a conference on the impact of testing on Hispanics. Abstracts by Duran (1988) and Pennock-Roman (1988) are cited in this bibliography. Covers a wide range of subjects regarding the testing of Hispanics and the implications of such testing.

Taylor, O. & Lee, D.L. "Standardized Tests and African Americans: Communication and Language Issues." (In Hilliard, see above, pp. 76-80).

Contains detailed discussion of sources and kinds of cultural and language bias in standardized tests. These biases cause African-Americans (particularly working-class blacks) and other minorities to be invalidly assessed: "At times...the results fail to accurately represent actual abilities." In conclusion, "...the very assumptions and paradigms upon which most standardized tests are based need to be revised."

Traynor, R. "The TOEFL: An Appraisal." ELT Journal (Vol. 39, pp. 43-47, 1985).

Criticizes Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Maintains that TOEFL has low predictive and face validity and should not be used to predict future success of foreign students in American schools.

Valdez Pierce, L. Effective Schools for Language Minority Students (Chevy Chase, MD: The Mid-Atlantic Equity Center, 1991). Obtain from publisher at 5454 Wisconsin Ave., Suite 1500, Chevy Chase, MD 20815.

Booklet addresses the problem of academic underachievement of minority students. Discusses practices including state minimum competency testing, tracking, segregation, and unequal access to technology.

Valdez Pierce, L. & O'Malley, J.M. Performance and Portfolio Assessment for Language Minority Students (National Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education, #9, Spring 1992).

Provides definitions and summary of alternative assessment and two of its varieties, performance assessment and portfolio assessment. Details each in terms of purpose, types, design, administration, and scoring with emphasis on use with language minority students. Lists common concerns of portfolio assessment and provides remedies for these concerns.

Valencia, R.R. Chicano School Failure and Success: Research and Policy Agendas for the 1990's (New York: The Falmer Press, 1991).

Includes two chapters on testing : "The Uses and Abuses of Educational Testing," by Richard Valencia and Sofia Aburto and "An Analysis of Special Education as a Response to the Diminished Academic Achievement of Chicano Students" by Robert Rueda. Argues that Chicanos face the following school problems: segregation, curriculum differences, and disparities in school financing, resulting in their low test performance. Suggests special education unresponsive to needs of Chicano students because of reliance on a medical model rather than on a model of cultural and linguistic diversities as learning factors.

Valencia, R.R., Henderson, D.W., & Rankin, R.J. "Relationship of Family Constellation and Schooling to Intellectual Performance of Mexican American Children." Journal of Educational Measurement (Vol. 73, pp. 524-32, 1981).

Study looks at effects on intelligence test scores of factors such as birth order, family size, and spacing between siblings. Authors hypothesize that cultural background of Mexican-American children in which large families are valued depresses mental test performance. Results indicate that the most powerful predictor of mental performance is a language/schooling factor and that relationship between family size and mental test performance is better explained as a function of socioeconomic status.

Valencia, R.R. & Rankin, R.J. "Evidence of Content Bias on the McCarthy Scales with Mexican American Children: Implications for Test Translation and Nonbiased Assessment." Journal of Educational Psychology (Vol. 77, #2, pp. 197-207, April 1985).

Finds content bias in the McCarthy Scales of Children's Abilities (MSCA), believed due to language of the test. Proposed reasons for this bias are discussed, as well as implications concerning test translation, issue of equivalence, and nonbiased assessment. Briefly mentions sociocultural and familial variables as factors in test performance. Note: this article deals only with MSCA, but issues are relevant for other tests.

Vraniak, D. "Mental Abilities of American Indians and Alaska Natives: An Analysis of the Existing Knowledge-Base 1896-1992." (Paper submitted for publication, 1991). Obtain from University of Wisconsin-Madison, Mental Health Research Center, Room 2409 Social Science Bldg., 1180 Observatory Drive, Madison, WI 53706.

    Analyzes over 380 research papers and reports concerning the use and effectiveness of ability tests with American Indians and summarizes their findings. Concludes that cumulative results of existing research is negligible. Presents future research recommendations.

Woo, J.Y.T. "How to Develop Tests for Chinese Students in the United States." (New York: Department of Special Education, Hunter College of City University of New York, 1991).

    Presents guidelines for developing psychological, language proficiency and achievement tests in Chinese. Strongly emphasizes that common theories and terms used in English-language assessments often do not translate into Chinese. Stresses differences among dialects and the absence of formal written language in some Chinese dialects. See also "Handbook on the Assessment of East Asian Students" by the same author which examines problems with tests in more detail and includes many examples from current tests; available from Hunter College only to persons qualified to use educational and psychological tests.

Zwick, R. & Ercikan, K. "Analysis of Differential Item Functioning in the NAEP History Assessment." Journal of Educational Measurement (Vol. 26, #1, Spring 1989).

    In study demonstrating the relevance of item context to test performance, finds that after matching groups by final test score on the National Assessment of Educational Progress test, Hispanics performed better that whites on items about immigration, the Mexican War, President Lincoln, and the Emancipation Proclamation. Findings on other groups also given.





Center for Applied Linguistics

1118 22nd Street N.W.

Washington, DC 20037


This center is concerned with issues of educational equity and advocates for educational excellence for all students.

ERIC Clearinghouse Directory

1600 Research Blvd.

Rockville, MD 20850


ERIC is the largest computerized education information system in the world. The ERIC database includes 16 subject-specific clearinghouses; several adjunct clearinghouses include The National Clearinghouse on Urban and Minority Education and The ERIC Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation.

Evaluation Assistance Center East
George Washington University
Suite 401
1730 N. Lynn Street
Arlington, VA 22209
703-528-3588 or 800-925-EACE

One of two federally funded centers that provide technical assistance to school districts serving English language learners. Clients include projects funded under Title VII and other K-12 schools that serve students learning English as a second language. The EAC East identifies appropriate systems to assess student language proficiency and academic achievement. The Center also develops frameworks and selects or creates resources to conduct program evaluations that meet federal requirements.

Evaluation Assistance Center West
University of New Mexico
121 Tijeras N.E.
Suite 2100
Alburquerque, NM 87102

The purpose of this federally-funded EAC is "to provide technical assistance regarding methods and techniques for identifying the educational needs and competencies of limited English proficient persons and assessing the educational progress achieved through Title VII programs." EAC West publishes a newsletter about Title VII issues.


Intercultural Development Research Association (IDRA)
5835 Callaghan
Suite 350
San Antonio, TX 78228

An educational advocacy organization which works with language minority students. Includes assessment issues among its concerns. See works by Sosa in bibliography.

National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE)
1220 L Street N.W., Suite 605
Washington, DC 20005

A national, non-profit membership professional and advocacy association, addressing needs of language minority Americans. Members include parents, early childhood educators, elementary and secondary school teachers and administrators, college professors, graduate students, and university researchers. NABE News, the association's newsletter, is published eight times a year. The Bilingual Research Journal is published three times a year. NABE members also receive occasional papers addressing particular aspects of bilingual education. Holds annual conference.

National Center for Research on Cultural Diversity and Second Language Learning
University of California, Santa Cruz
Bilingual Research Group
399 Clark Kerr Hall
Santa Cruz, CA 95064

A research-oriented organization. Publishes a newsletter.

National Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education (NCBE)
1118 22nd Street N.W.
Washington, DC 20037
800-321-6223 or 202-467-0867

A federally-funded information service. Clients include ESL and bilingual education teachers, principals, librarians, researchers, professors, school counselors, parents, and others involved in the education of limited English proficient students. NCBE is a computerized information system, including bibliographic, resources, and publishers databases, and NCBE Newsline, featuring OBEMLA announcements. Publications include Focus Occasional Paper Series and Program Information Guide Series.

Office of Bilingual Education and Minority Languages Affairs (OBEMLA)
Switzer Building, Room 5086
400 Maryland Avenue S.W.
Washington, DC 20202
202-732-5063 202-732-5737

Office administers Title VII/Bilingual Education grants for research with respect to the education of language minority students; part of U.S. Department of Education.



Entries Relate to the Following Topics


THE FOLLOWING COVER A COMBINATION OF MOST OR ALL OF THE TOPICS BELOW: Duran (1989b); Keller, Deneen & Magallan; Geisinger (1992b); Nuttal, et al.; O'Connor; Olmedo; Sosa (1988).

AFRICAN AMERICANS, ASSESSMENT OF: Hilliard; Hoover, et al.; Taylor & Lee.

ALTERNATIVES: Ascher (1991, 1990); Bilingual Education Office; California Learning Record; Canales; Cheng; Damico; Duran (1989a, 1988); Estrin; Focus on Evaluation and Measurement; French; Gándara & Merin; Gónzalez et al.; Lacelle-Peterson & Rivera; Mestre & Royer; Moya & O'Malley; Navarrete, et al.; Oller & Damico; Royer & Carlo; Valdez Pierce & O'Malley.


ASIANS, ASSESSMENT OF: Cheng; Lupi & Woo; Schmitt & Dorans; Woo.

CULTURAL BIAS: Ascher (1991); Carpenter; Cummins; Duran (1988); Figueroa (1983, 1990); First & Carrera; Hembree; Lupi & Woo; Mestre & Royer; Oller & Damico; Pennock-Roman (1986); Royer & Carlo; Taylor & Lee; Valencia; Valencia, et al.; Zwick.

EFFECTS OF REQUIRING LANGUAGE MINORITIES TO TAKE TESTS IN ENGLISH: Baca & Cervantes; Duran (1989a); Figueroa; First & Carrera; Sosa (1992).

HIGHER EDUCATION ADMISSION: Hembree; Pennock-Roman (1988); Schmitt (1988, 1987); Traynor.

HISPANICS, ASSESSMENT OF: Most of the pieces focus on assessment of Hispanics unless noted.

IQ AND ABILITY TESTS: Duran (1988); Figueroa (1990); Geisinger (1992a); Hilliard; Lacelle-Peterson & Rivera; Mestre & Royer; Oller & Damico; Olmedo; Valencia, et al.; Valencia & Rankin.

LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY TESTS: Baca & Cervantes; Carpenter; Cummins; ERIC; Figueroa (1989); Royer & Carlo; Sosa (1992); Traynor.

LINGUISTIC BIAS: Ascher (1991, 1990); Carpenter; Cummins; Duran (1989a, 1988); ERIC; Hoover, et al.; Lupi & Woo; Mestre & Royer; Pennock-Roman (1986); Royer & Carlo; Taylor & Lee; Valencia, et al.; Valencia & Rankin.

POLICY/LEGISLATION: Baker & Rossell; Bilingual Education Office; Canales; Carpenter; Clements; DelVeechio, et al.; Duran (1988); Estrin; First & Carrera; Focus on Evaluation and Measurement; Gándara & Merin; Geisinger (1992a); Lacelle-Peterson & Rivera; Lam & Gordon; Sosa (1992).

SPECIAL EDUCATION: Ascher (1990); Baker & Rossell; Bilingual Special Education Perspective; Cummins; Duran (1988); ERIC; Figueroa (1983); First & Carrera; Ortiz; Sosa (1990, 1992).

TESTS IN COMMON USE: Carpenter; Lupi & Woo.

TRACKING/EXPECTATIONS: Baker & Rossell; Cummins; Duran (1988); First & Carrera; Hoover, et al.; Sosa (1990a, 1992); Valdez Pierce.

TRANSLATION OF TESTS: Ascher (1991); Pennock-Roman (1986); Valencia & Rankin.