Five Minnesota districts' perceptions of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 English language learner tests and their implications for program, instruction, and climate





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The reauthorization of the NO Child Left Behind Art of 2001 (NCLB) and the increasing numbers of English language learners in schools call for investigation of accountability systems for ELL. This study addressed the impact of NCLB ELL assessments on programs, instruction and climate in Minnesota. Using elite interviews and teacher focus groups, five ELL coordinators and 16 teachers were interviewed. Grounded theory was used for analysis. A major finding of the study was the NCLB ELL testes, by themselves, in the five sites do not have a large impact of ELL programs, instruction, and climate. The tentative theory stated although English language proficiency tests may not directly influence ELL programs, instruction and climate, they do influence schools and programs, and perhaps not for the best. From the data, I have deduced educational, social, and political implications exist because these tests do not happen in a vacuum. The language proficiency assessments have an impact, however subtle or overlooked. I would suggest this impact is relatively negative and carries with it a burden for future educators. Twenty recommendations on improving ELL assessment programs were given. Four benefits of NCLB ELL accountability testing were identified, including accountability for ELL performance a lever for change a common statewide proficiency measure for definition and comparison and attempts at more inclusive ELL programming. Nine concerns with the NCLB language proficiency tests also emerged amorphous the allocation of resources and special programs to students on the cusp of proficiency, rather than the lowest scorers negative student-level impacts ELL as policy scapegoats English only policy expressed as high-stakes testing policy and several short term and long-term consequences. Conclusions, limitations to the study, and six recommendations for future research are all given.

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