Texas first state to pilot alternative English Language Proficiency Assessment

In late March, TEA requested districts meeting certain criteria to apply for participation in the 2018 Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment System (TELPAS) Alternate pilot test. The pilot assessment will evaluate limited English proficient (LEP) students in grades 3-12 whose admission, review and dismissal (ARD) committee has determined eligibility for STAAR. The test will be administered over a 10-day window from April 23 to May 4.

According to TEA, the TELPAS Alternate pilot test is based on alternate Proficiency Level Descriptors (PLDs) that were developed by Texas educators to appropriately determine the progress of English proficiency for students with significant cognitive disabilities. In addition, the TELPAS Alternate pilot test is a holistic inventory that is intended to be accessible to all students in this population regardless of disability.

TEA stressed that due to the small number of students statewide who would likely be eligible for the test, it is imperative that all districts with at least one eligible student participate in the pilot in order to yield statistically valid information to inform the final test design.

According to TEA, the TELPAS Alternate pilot test is not a traditional test in which students answer questions in the domains of reading, writing, listening and speaking. Instead, it is a holistic inventory that test administrators will use to determine a student’s English language proficiency based on a standardized set of observable behaviors. Test administrators will consider a student’s use of the English language related to each specific observable behavior and select the behavior that best matches how the student performs most consistently. It is not expected that the test administrator conduct classroom activities specifically for this pilot test. It is more appropriate to think about the student’s use of English in a variety of instructional settings over a period of time. Test administrators or other designated testing personnel will enter the student’s ratings from each of the four domains into the Assessment Management System.

In addition, TEA will solicit select districts for participation in a TELPAS Alternate cognitive lab that will also be conducted during the pilot test window. TEA staff will visit elementary, middle, and high schools around the state to gather feedback from test administrators about their experience using the holistic inventory to describe student performance. The intent of these visits is to provide teachers the opportunity to “think aloud” about their interaction with this new assessment and to determine how accessible it was for their students. Information obtained from both the pilot test and the cognitive lab will be used to refine training materials and observable behaviors prior to the spring 2019 operational administration of TELPAS Alternate.

For more information, click here.

TEA requesting feedback on enhancements to STAAR Alternate 2

Several enhancements have been made to STAAR Alternate 2 materials for the 2018 administration.

  • Test materials are in kits that include a student booklet, a set of image cards, and a test administrator manual.
  • New image cards contain the same images that appear in the student test booklet and may be used in conjunction with the student booklet if the student needs this type of assistance. The image cards must be returned with nonscorable materials. 
  • Color images have been added to some questions in the student test booklets.
  • Large-print student test booklets are now available. The large-print booklets are shipped separately from the kits; however, districts will need to use the test administrator manual and image cards within the kit. 

TEA is conducting a post-administration survey to request feedback regarding the effectiveness of these enhancements. Click here to take the survey.