Superintendent's Memo #196-09

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

COMMONWEALTH of VIRGINIA
Department of Education

July 24, 2009

TO: Division Superintendents

FROM: Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: Board of Education Approval Process to Evaluate Locally Selected or Developed English Language Proficiency Assessments for 2009-2010 Administration


Section 1111 (b) (7) of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) requires that school divisions annually assess the English language proficiency of limited English proficient (LEP) students in kindergarten through grade 12. As communicated to you via Informational Superintendent's Memorandum, Number 218, October 5, 2007, on September 26, 2007, the Virginia Board of Education selected Assessing Communication and Comprehension in English State to State for English Language Learners (ACCESS for ELLs) as the state-approved English Language Proficiency (ELP) assessment.

During the 2009 legislative session, the Virginia General Assembly passed House Bill 2589 which states that local school divisions must administer a locally developed or selected limited English proficiency assessment mandated for students by NCLB for the 2009-2010 school year, so long as such assessment has been approved by the Board of Education. HB 2589 places into law the flexibility that school divisions have had for some time to administer a locally developed or selected English Language Proficiency (ELP) assessment instead of the state-approved test.

School divisions may continue to submit locally developed or selected ELP assessments to be used in lieu of ACCESS for ELLs for approval by the Board of Education. However, any locally developed or selected assessment must be aligned to the World-Class Instructional Design and Assessments (WIDA) Consortium ELP Standards. Further, formal studies demonstrating the comparability of scores resulting from the locally selected or developed assessment to scores resulting from ACCESS for ELLs must be provided. A list of criteria and detailed information for submitting locally developed or selected ELP assessments for approval by the Board of Education is in Attachment A. The division's proposed ELP assessment and required documentation must be submitted to the Virginia Department of Education by October 30, 2009, using the required cover sheet provided in Attachment B. A panel will evaluate the assessment and present recommendations to the Board of Education for final approval. Payment for the ELP assessment will be the responsibility of school divisions.

If you have questions or need additional information, please contact student assessment staff by e-mail at Student_Assessment@doe.virginia.gov or by telephone at (804) 225-2102.

PIW / SLR / RF / cb

Attachments:

a. Board of Education Approval Process to Evaluate Locally Selected or Developed English Language Proficiency (ELP) Assessments (PDF)

b. Virginia Department of Education 2009-2010 English Language Proficiency Assessment Locally Developed or Selected Assessments (PDF)