Striving for equitable classroom assessments for linguistic minorities: Strategies for and effects of revising life science items

Authors

  • Marcelle A. Siegel

    Corresponding author
    1. MU Science Education Center, Department of Learning, Teaching & Curriculum and Department of Biochemistry, 303 Townsend Hall, University of Missouri, Columbia, Columbia, Missouri 65211
    • MU Science Education Center, Department of Learning, Teaching & Curriculum and Department of Biochemistry, 303 Townsend Hall, University of Missouri, Columbia, Columbia, Missouri 65211
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Abstract

Striving for equitable assessments that can contribute to classroom learning for linguistic minorities is a goal of increasing importance as the national population of English language learners continues to rise. This study investigated classroom assessments for English learners in middle school life science courses in two California schools. A framework for equitable classroom assessments, “McCes—Sounds like Success,” was used to refine and evaluate assessments in the study. Ways to improve two written assessments for advanced English learners were developed through teacher research and tested with a pretest/posttest design. Eleven changes to the items were developed, such as adding visual supports and dividing prompts into smaller units. Regression analyses of raw and Rasch modeled data from the pretest/posttest showed that both English only students and advanced English learners scored significantly better on the modified classroom assessments. A new perspective on validating equitable classroom assessments as opposed to standardized assessments for English learners is discussed. © 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 44: 864–881, 2007

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