UPDATE: Call for CCSS Assessments in Spanish

The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) has asked both Achieve, Inc. and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) to support the development of a Spanish version of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS)-aligned assessment.

“LULAC supports providing our states with the tools necessary to ensure that our students benefit from the implementation of the Common Core State Standards,” said LULAC President Margaret Moran. “Once CCSS is implemented it’s critical that they be monitored, and adequately supported, in order for all students to benefit from a quality education.”

Below is the text of Moran’s letter:

Re: Spanish Language Assessment as an Accommodation for ELLs

Dear Achieve, Inc., PARCC Executive Committee, and PARCC Governing Board:
The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the nation’s oldest and largest Latino civil rights organization, is committed to advancing the educational attainment of Hispanics across the country. Of great importance to our organization, is closing the
achievement gap between Latino students and their peers, and of particular concern are our country’s English language learners (ELLs). With the move nationally towards adopting and implementing Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), we write in support of the development of a Spanish language version of the PARCC assessment aligned with the teaching of new Common Core State Standards.

As states across the country move to implement the CCSS, our organization believes it is critically important to ensure that ELLs have the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of academic standards through objective assessment. Federal non-regulatory guidance on
standards and assessment (2003) states that “to the extent practicable, states must make every effort to develop and administer native language assessments, if doing is likely to yield the most accurate and reliable information about what those students know and can do.” In addition, given the ever-increasing percentage of ELLs in public schools across the country, it is imperative that appropriate assessment accommodations are provided to all students, including ELLs.

It has come to our understanding that some states within the PARCC consortium need Spanish language assessments to continue to provide ELLs in their states the widest range of assessment accommodations possible. For example, New Mexico’s state assessment policy and regulation follows the federal guidance and provides eligible ELLs with native language assessment in Spanish. To administer the coming PARCC assessments without offering Spanish language version of the assessment would mean New Mexico would violate its own assessment policy and regulation and would, to the detriment of students, narrow the range of tools used to adequately monitor and assess the content knowledge of ELLs in that state. Given the demographic and state policy on the issue, other states share similar concerns as New Mexico.

Therefore, on behalf of ELL students in PARCC member states, our organization urges you to move forward with the development of Spanish language assessments for tested content areas (i.e. Reading/ Language Arts and Mathematics) as quickly as possible.
Accurate student assessment data provides educators with the necessary information to drive informed decision-making about instructional programming for students, including ELLs. To close the achievement gap, we must know what all students can do and plan
for their academic and language learning needs accordingly.

Since 1929 the League of United Latin American Citizens has fought hard to ensure the Latino students have equitable access to the supports and resources necessarily to obtain a good quality education. The CCSS, through proper implementation, monitoring, and
assessment, offers our students the opportunity to obtain an internationally benchmarked education. We expect that you will agree with our conclusions regarding the need for a Spanish language version of the coming PARCC CCSS assessment and will honor our
request to move forward with its development to support ELLs and Latino students across PARCC member states.

Our organization is glad to discuss this issue further and looks forward to working with you to provide our schools with the adequate tools to ensure that Latino students have equitable access to the supports and resources needed to benefit from the implementation
of CCSS.

8/16/13 PARCC Responds to LULAC

On behalf of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), I would like to thank you for reaching out to us with your recommendation to develop Spanish language versions of the PARCC summative assessments.

Currently, the states that comprise PARCC have varying policies around providing native language translations or native language alternate assessments.  Some states have regulations, policies, and legal language that require or allow for translation for state assessments; other states do not allow for translation of state assessments.

At this time PARCC is reviewing the most current research on translation and developing a proposal to present to the PARCC Governing Board in the fall.

Thank you for offering to serve as a thought partner on this important work. We will be in touch as we continue to work on this issue.

Mitchell Chester

Chair, PARCC Governing Board

2 COMMENTS

  1. I wholehartedly support Lulac’s recommendation for all states implementing bilingual education programs!

  2. I think that a broader RFP for the work should be posted. It appears that the two main CCSS companies, PARRC and Smarter Balance aren’t interested in developing the Spanish version of the test. A broader RFP posting might entice someone interested and highly capable for the Spanish version development, like Educational Testing Services – http://www.ets.org

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