Oregon wins $6.3 million grant to create better English proficiency tests for bilingual students
By Betsy Hammond
September 25, 2012
The U.S. Department of Education awarded Oregon a $6.3 million grant to upgrade the state's English proficiency test for students learning English as their second language.
The money is intended to upgrade the tests, taken by all limited English proficient students each year, so that schools are held fully accountable for teaching them well and to high standards, the department said.
It's possible the upgraded English mastery tests that Oregon will create could be used in other states, too.
Tests for all students, in Oregon and in other states, will be changing in 2014-15 to reflect new, more rigorous standards for reading, writing and math, known as the Common Core State Standards, that have been adopted by Oregon and 43 other states.
Kansas and Maryland won smaller grants to help develop ways to better and more accurately test students with vision impairments or motor disabilities.
In a statement released by his office, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said, “The research and development projects proposed by these states will enhance the inclusion of English learners and students with disabilities in state assessment systems and, as a result, provide better data for supporting effective teaching and learning.”
Learn more about the English Language Proficiency Assessment (ELPA) at http://www.ode.state.or.us/search/page/?=2286
Read the U.S. Department of Education’s press release about all three assessment grants (to Oregon, Kansas, and Maryland) at http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-department-education-awards-more-99-million-grants-three-states-improve-their
Read about other planned changes to instruction for ELL’s in Oregon at http://www.oregonlive.com/education/index.ssf/2012/10/oregon_dissatisfied_with_chron.html#incart_river_default