Establishing Policies Regarding Accommodations for Testing Students with Limited English Proficiency and School Accountability
Resolution Number 1999-5
May 27, 1999
WHEREAS, Public Law 103-382 (Improving America’s Schools Act, Title VII, Part E, Section 7501 (8)) defines an LEP student as one who meets both criteria listed as A. and B. below:
A. i) was not born in the United States or whose native language is a language other than English and comes from an environment where a language other than English is dominant; or
ii) is a Native American or Alaska Native who is a native resident of the outlying areas and comes from an environment where a language other than English has had a significant impact on such individual’s level of English language proficiency; or
iii) is migratory and whose native language is other than English and comes from an environment where a language other than English is dominant; and
B. has sufficient difficulty speaking, reading, writing, or understanding the English language and whose difficulties may deny such individual the opportunity to learn successfully in classrooms where the language of instruction is English or to participate fully in our society; and
WHEREAS, throughout the process of revising the Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia, 8 VAC 20-131-10 et seq. (SOA) in 1996-97, the Board of Education received comment on the effect of the proposed Standards of Learning (SOL) testing requirements for students and schools from the community of supporters and teachers of students identified as Limited English Proficient (LEP); and
WHEREAS, in response to comment received, the Board of Education voted in September 1997 to include in the SOA a provision allowing LEP-identified students to be exempted from the SOL tests for one complete grade level at either Grades 3, 5 or 8 (8 VAC 20-131-30.A.). The SOA adopted in September 1997 also allowed schools with large numbers of transient students and/or non-English-speaking immigrant students to receive additional accommodations in the school accreditation formula through a plan for each individual school, with each Individual School Accreditation Plan having to be approved separately by the Board of Education (8 VAC 20-131-280.C.); and
WHEREAS, as a result of additional comment received, the Board of Education voted unanimously in October 1998 to approve an accommodation to exclude the SOL test scores of LEP-identified children from the calculation of passing rates in the 1997-98 and 1998-99 school years as a short-term solution to concerns expressed by the ESL community and schools with large numbers of LEP-identified children; and
WHEREAS, the Board additionally agreed to consider recommendations from the ESL community and from schools with large numbers of LEP-identified students in an effort to develop a long-term solution to issues related to school accountability and the testing of LEP students as an alternative to requiring each affected school to develop an Individual School Accreditation Plan to be approved by the Board; and
WHEREAS, in January 1999, the Department of Education conducted a canvass of ESL coordinators in order to solicit their recommendations regarding such accommodations that should be made for ESL students; the findings and recommendations are summarized in a report submitted to the Board for its consideration and for the public record; and
WHEREAS, the Department of Education conducted a review of the research literature on this topic, the summary of which is also presented to the Board for its consideration and for the public record; and
WHEREAS, as part of the efforts to determine a long-term solution to this issue, on April 14, 1999, the President of the Board of Education convened a meeting of ESL Coordinators and Department of Education staff, at which time the following proposal was developed for Board consideration:
The purpose of this policy is to implement appropriate safeguards to support the inclusion of Limited English Proficient (LEP) students in the Standards of Learning (SOL) testing program while at the same time allowing the results of SOL tests to be used fairly in the accreditation of schools. This policy supports the underlying philosophy that all students can learn and the improvement of student academic achievement is the key to student success in the 21st century. The policy also supports the student achievement expectations in the Standards of Accreditation that all students are expected to take and pass SOL tests in grades 3, 5, and 8 and in selected high school courses. In developing this policy the Board of Education acknowledges the need for LEP students to be afforded an opportunity to acquire facility in the English language while at the same time participating in the academic program of the school.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Board of Education, having considered the results of the canvass of the ESL directors, educators in schools with large numbers of LEP-identified students, the review of the research, and the suggestions and comments of ESL Coordinators, parents and others, establishes the following policy:
1. The student must be identified as Limited English Proficient (LEP) in accordance with the guidelines issued by the United States Department of Education under Public Law 103-382 for such identification. This policy shall not apply to students who are no longer identified as LEP under the federal guidelines.
2. LEP-identified students in grades K-8 will continue to have a one-time exemption option at grades 3, 5 or 8 as provided in the SOA adopted September 1997. Such exemptions will be exercised in accordance with 8 VAC 20-131-20 of the Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia and the “Limited English Proficient Students: Guidelines for Participation in the Standards of Learning Assessments,” adopted by the Board of Education on October 10, 1997.
3. Unless exercising the exemptions contained in the “Students with Disabilities: Guidelines for Participation in the Standards of Learning Assessments” adopted by the Board of Education on October 10, 1997, there will continue to be no exemptions available to LEP students for SOL testing in high school courses for which such tests are available, nor shall LEP students be exempted from the requirement to earn verified credits to receive a diploma as set forth in the SOA.
4. The scores of LEP-identified students enrolled in a Virginia public school fewer than eleven (11) semesters shall be removed from the calculations used for the purpose of school accreditation required by 8 VAC 20-131-280.C and 8 VAC 30-131-300.D of the accrediting standards.
5. Notice of the exclusion of the scores of LEP-identified students from the school accreditation calculation formula shall be included on the School Performance Report Card and the scores of such students shall be reported in a separate category.
6. Completion of a semester shall be based on school membership days. Membership days are defined as the days the student is officially enrolled in a Virginia public school (regardless of the days absent or present). For a semester to count as a completed semester, a student must have been in membership for a majority of the membership days of that semester.
7. Semesters need not be consecutive to count toward the ten-semester total. For example, if a student completes the fall semester in a Virginia public school and then transfers out of the state, that student will have one completed semester of the ten-semester total if he or she ever re-enters the Virginia public schools.
8. Appropriate methods will be implemented to ensure the identification of students during the SOL testing process to allow student performance to be disaggregated into the reporting categories formed under this policy.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this policy shall become effective with the reporting of results for the Fall 1999 SOL test administration;
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the Superintendent of Public Instruction is hereby requested to distribute a copy of this resolution to all local division superintendents and to all interested professional organizations and any other member of the public so that they may be informed of the Board of Education’s policy regarding accommodations for students with Limited English Proficiency.
Kirk T. Schroder, President
Board of Education
Adopted in the Minutes of the Virginia Board of Education
May 27, 1999
Index | Board of Education |
Doe Offices |
Data & Publications | School Divisions | Job Opportunities | For Parents | Feedback