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 DPS 97-054: Accommodations for LEP Students .....Assessments

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
Frank T. Brogan
Commissioner of Education

Dr. David Mosrie
Director, Division of Public Schools

DPS: 97-054

December 4, 1996

M E M O R A N D U M

TO: District School Superintendents

FROM: David Mosrie

SUBJECT: Accommodations for Limited English Proficient (LEP) Students in the Administration of Statewide Assessments

Accommodations for LEP students were first allowed on the High School Competency Test (HSCT) and announced in DPS memorandums #95-067 and #96-036 (Replaced by Accommodations for Limited English Proficient (LEP) Students in the Administration of Statewide Assessments: DPS 97-054: December 4, 1996)

Modifications similar to those established for the HSCT will be allowed for LEP students taking the Florida Writing Assessment and the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) beginning January 1997.

Districts are required to offer accommodations to LEP students who are currently receiving services in a program operated in accordance with an approved District LEP Plan, but the exact combination of accommodations to be offered to any particular student shall be individually determined, considering the needs of the student.

ESOL or heritage language teachers who will be administering any statewide assessment test shall be given adequate training by the school district to enable them to administer the test under the procedures defined herein. The school district also will provide for any modified assessment administrations to be monitored by ESOL District Coordinators or other qualified personnel to verify that appropriate testing conditions are maintained.

The following LEP modifications apply to both the High School Competency Test (HSCT) and the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT):

1. LEP students may be given additional time as necessary to complete the test. However, students must complete each section of the HSCT and session of the FCAT in one school day. Students must not be permitted to continue testing within a section or session from one day to another.

2. LEP students may be given access to an English-to-heritage language/heritage language-to-English dictionary. Such a dictionary would be familiar to LEP students because of its regular availability in instructional settings. A dictionary written exclusively in the heritage language or English shall not be provided.

3. LEP students may be offered the opportunity to be tested in a separate room with the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) or heritage language teacher acting as test administrator. When the student is not of legal age, the parents shall be informed of this option and shall be asked for their preferences in test administration setting.

4. The ESOL or heritage language teacher may answer student questions about the general test directions in their heritage language.

For the mathematics sections, the ESOL or heritage language teacher may answer specific questions about a word or phrase that may be confusing to the student because of limited English proficiency but is prohibited from giving assistance that will help the student solve mathematics test questions. A student's questions must not be answered in a way that would lead the student to unmistakably infer the correct answer to a question. When administering the test to a group of students, the teacher may answer questions about directions for the benefit of the group; questions of clarification from students must be answered on an individual basis without disturbing other students taking the test.

For the communications or reading sections, the ESOL or heritage language teacher may answer student questions about the general test directions in a way that the student would not be unmistakably led to infer the correct answer to any of the questions. The teacher is prohibited from answering student questions about reading passages, the question stems, or answer alternatives. Students may have access to the English-to-heritage language/ heritage-to-English Language dictionary, but the student is expected to read the reading passage, the question stems, and the answer alternatives in English.

The following LEP modifications apply to the Writing Assessment Program:

1. LEP students may be given additional time beyond the time limit specified in the test administration manual for administration of the test to non-LEP students. LEP students may also take the test during several brief sessions within one school day. Students must not be permitted to continue testing from one day to another.

2. LEP students may be given access to an English-to-heritage language/heritage language-to-English dictionary. Such a dictionary would be familiar to LEP students because of its regular availability in instructional settings. A dictionary written exclusively in the heritage language or English shall not be provided.

3. LEP students may be given the opportunity to be tested in a separate room with the ESOL or heritage language teacher serving as test administrator. If the student is not ' of legal age, the parents of the student shall be informed of this particular accommodation and shall be given the opportunity to select the preferred method of test administration.

4. The ESOL or heritage language teacher may answer student questions about the general test directions in their heritage language, but the teacher is prohibited from reading the prompt to the student or answering questions about the prompt.

If you should have any additional questions about these procedures or need technical assistance, please call the persons whose names appear on page one of this memorandum as contact persons. Thomas Fisher will address issues related to testing LEP students, and Bernardo A. Garcia will address programmatic issues related to LEP instruction. (This document is available on the DOE home page http://www.firn.edu/doe/doehomepage.htm on the internet. See Division of Public Schools.)

DM/vs

cc:
Robert M. Connors
ESOL District Coordinators
District Coordinators of Assessment
Assistant Superintendents of Instruction
Student Services Coordinators

CONTACT PERSONS
NAME: Thomas Fisher   NAME: Bernardo A. Garcia
PHONE: 904/488-8198   PHONE: 904/922-7294
SUNCOM: 277-8198   SUNCOM: 292-7294