Tarleton State University (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2009 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Pages: 4209-4217
ISBN: 978-84-613-2953-3
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain
Assessment and standardized testing have become an essential part of American education. Testing of English Language Learners (ELLs) in the elementary education environment may prove to be problematic. Research in this area is important to ensure that ELLs meet the standards placed before them.

A mixed-methods design of comparative research and qualitative personal interviews was utilized for the study. Based upon statistical evidence gathered from the Texas Education Agency and qualitative data gathered from educators the study examined the effect that the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test has on third grade ELLs in Texas.

The target population for the quantitative portion of the study focused on all third grade ELLs enrolled in Texas’ public schools since 2000. The sample included all districts that had data available for all years of interest. The qualitative sample of the research study was comprised of educators purposively selected from Texas public schools.

Descriptive statistics and a comparison of means (ANOVA) were applied to examine the passing rate, special education rate, retention rate, and exemption rate of third grade ELLs. Three of the four analyses were significant at the .05 level.

The findings for the qualitative portion of the study found that educators appear to have changed their methodologies to accommodate students in order to better prepare them for standards assessed on the TAKS test. Educator interviews stated that they made changes in their methodologies in regards to curriculum; vertical alignment; teamwork; strategy studies; and intervention. Educator’s positive and negative views of the TAKS test were also gathered during the qualitative portion of the research. On a positive note, the educators that were interviewed stated that the TAKS test motivated and challenged students to do well and increases achievement. On a negative note, the educators that were interviewed stated that they were mainly concerned with the pressures that were placed on young children.

Once disseminated, the outcomes of the study may reduce the number of Special Education referrals of ELLs, help create programs that will better serve ELLs, and help create guidelines for placement committees that will investigate language deficiencies if ELLs were to fail the TAKS test, consequently reducing the number of ELLs retained in the elementary grades.
assessment, english language learners (ells), exemption, high stakes testing.