Assessing English learners' progress: Longitudinal invariance of a standards-based classroom assessment of English proficiency

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Assessing and monitoring student progress is becoming increasingly important in classrooms and for accountability purposes. Yet, in order to interpret changes in assessment results from one year to the next as reflecting differences in underlying ability rather than as variations in the measurement, the assessments used should be measuring the same constructs over time. Gathering evidence of an assessment's longitudinal invariance is particularly important when the assessments used are based on teacher judgments because teacher judgments are often viewed as inconsistent, and different teachers may be involved each year. This study examined the extent to which a standards-based classroom assessment based on teacher judgments measures English proficiency consistently over time by examining its longitudinal invariance using confirmatory factor analysis. Results indicate that the English Language Development Classroom Assessment measures the same overall construct of English proficiency in Grades 2, 3, and 4: Invariance was established for the overall factor structure of the assessment. However, only partial invariance was established for the first-and second-order factor loadings. These findings suggest that, when the focus is overall language proficiency, teacher judgments could be used to make meaningful determinations of student progress from one year to the next.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-347
Number of pages17
JournalLanguage Assessment Quarterly
Volume9
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2012

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classroom
teacher
English Proficiency
English Learners
Invariance
English language
factor analysis
student
school grade
monitoring
responsibility
ability
language
evidence
time

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

Cite this

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abstract = "Assessing and monitoring student progress is becoming increasingly important in classrooms and for accountability purposes. Yet, in order to interpret changes in assessment results from one year to the next as reflecting differences in underlying ability rather than as variations in the measurement, the assessments used should be measuring the same constructs over time. Gathering evidence of an assessment's longitudinal invariance is particularly important when the assessments used are based on teacher judgments because teacher judgments are often viewed as inconsistent, and different teachers may be involved each year. This study examined the extent to which a standards-based classroom assessment based on teacher judgments measures English proficiency consistently over time by examining its longitudinal invariance using confirmatory factor analysis. Results indicate that the English Language Development Classroom Assessment measures the same overall construct of English proficiency in Grades 2, 3, and 4: Invariance was established for the overall factor structure of the assessment. However, only partial invariance was established for the first-and second-order factor loadings. These findings suggest that, when the focus is overall language proficiency, teacher judgments could be used to make meaningful determinations of student progress from one year to the next.",
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