Jamal Abedi is a Professor, University of California, Davis, School of Education, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Classification System for English Language Learners: Issues and Recommendations
Article first published online: 28 AUG 2008
© 2008 by the National Council on Measurement in Education
Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice
Volume 27, Issue 3, pages 17–31, Fall 2008
How to Cite
Abedi, J. (2008), Classification System for English Language Learners: Issues and Recommendations. Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice, 27: 17–31. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-3992.2008.00125.x
- Issue published online: 28 AUG 2008
- Article first published online: 28 AUG 2008
- English language learner;
- ELL classification;
- No Child Left Behind
High-stakes decisions for the instruction and assessment of English language learner (ELL) students are made based on the premise that ELL classification is a valid dichotomy that distinguishes between those who are proficient in the use of the English language and those who are not. However, recent research findings draw a vague picture of the term “ELL” and call for a more valid classification system for ELL students. Thus, the purpose of this paper is twofold: (1) to reveal issues concerning the validity of the current ELL classification system based on the results of several empirical studies, and (2) to initiate a discussion on ways to improve the validity of the ELL classification system by proposing a system that uses existing multiple criteria in a stepwise manner. While the suggested system has its own limitations and controversies, we hope this discussion stimulates thoughts and brings much needed attention to this very important national issue.