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English Learner Supports for The ACT High School Assessments


Accommodations and supports are practices and procedures that provide equitable access to grade-level content. They are intended to reduce or eliminate the effects of a student’s disability or level of language acquisition; they do not reduce learning expectations. The accommodations or supports provided to a student must be consistent with classroom instruction, classroom assessments, and district and state assessments. It is important to note that while some accommodations or supports may be appropriate for instructional use, they may not be appropriate for use on a standardized assessment because of what the test is intending to measure. 


ACT Aspire

 

Overview

  • The following accessibility supports are available to EL students (in addition to the default embedded system tools and open access tools available to all users):
    • Translated test directions for all subjects
    • Word-to-word dictionaries for math, science, and writing sections
  • Dictation in languages other than English is not permitted (p. 44 of the ACT Aspire Accessibility User’s Guide).
  • Translation of test items is not permitted.
  • Please see pages 14, and 27-29 of the ACT Aspire Accessibility User’s Guide for information.
  • The ACT Aspire accessibility system defines four levels of support. (See the ACT Aspire Accessibility User’s Guide pp. 3-8 for details.)


Translated Test Directions

  • Spanish language test directions for the online summative test are available in digital audio under “S” in the “Spanish Language CBT Forms Test Directions - Audio Files” section of the WI Aspire Avocet website.
  • It is also acceptable to have the standard English test directions translated into languages other than Spanish; however all locally provided translation of directions must be prepared in writing ahead of time and based precisely as possible on the exact standard English directions. (See p. 27 of the ACT Aspire Accessibility User’s Guide.)
  • Translation on-the-fly is not permitted.
  • All student responses must be in English.

Word to Word Dictionary

  • Mathematics, Science and Writing tests only
  • Word-to-word dictionaries may not be used during the Reading or English tests.
  • Only ACT Aspire-approved non-electronic word-to-word translation dictionaries are allowed.
  • Extra time is strongly recommended with this support but it is not automatically assigned in the portal. Extra time must be manually selected in the PNP. Students are not required to site for the entire extended time period. (See ACT Aspire Accessibility User’s Guide p. 29.)

Who Should Use Word-To-Word Linguistic Support (ACT Aspire Accessibility User’s Guide p.54)

  • Students at any grade level who are currently reported as English language learners or have been reported as ELLs in the past and who are evaluated as able to benefit from the use of word-to-word dictionaries may use this linguistic support.
  • In general, students who benefit from this type of accessibility support include those who demonstrate an intermediate level of English language proficiency or above and have had successful experiences using this type of linguistic support. ELL students at the beginning level of English language proficiency are not likely to benefit.
  • No student should experience a new kind of support for the first time during a testing experience.

ACT with writing

 
Starting in Fall 2017, the following EL supports will be available for a college reportable score if approved by ACT:

These supports may be used in conjunction with any other ACT-approved accommodations. Schools apply for these supports using the Test Accessibility and Accommodations (TAA) system.

English learner supports for college reportable scores do not include:
  • Translated test questions
  • Translated verbal instructions and/or the use of an interpreter
  • Translated DVDs
  • Translated reader’s scripts
  • Printed translations for languages outside of the 12 that are offered
  • Use of an electronic translation device
General Resources
Information on criteria for eligibility
Information on requesting supports
Additional forms
  • Teacher Survey Form - A teacher at the examinee’s school may complete this form as supporting documentation to be uploaded in TAA. It asks for specific ways in which the examinee used accommodations in their class.
  • Exceptions Statement Form - Examinees who do not currently have an official accommodations plan, EL support plan, IEP, or 504 plan can submit the Exceptions Statement Form to support their request.

ACT WorkKeys

English learners may make use of embedded and open access-level supports as needed.
 
English learners may also request use of accommodation-level supports by providing the documentation of qualification described in the section Written Documentation in the ACT WorkKeys Administration Manual for Paper Testing.
 
The following supports are available for English learners and eligible for a National Career Readiness Certificate:
  • Translated verbal or written directions provided in the examinee’s native language and /or clarified for the examinee.
  • Word-to-word bilingual dictionary.
Starting in fall 2017, a Spanish version of ACT WorkKeys is available
  • Instructions and test questions are translated in Spanish.
  • An ACT WorkKeys National Career Readiness Certificate en Español is available to eligible examinees.
  • Accommodations in Spanish for paper testing include: extended time, Braille, large print, audio DVDs, and reader’s script.
  • These accommodations are full translations of the directions and assessment questions and will produce scores eligible to produce an ACT WorkKeys NCRC en Español score.
Resources

ELA Exemption for Recently Arrived ELs

From DPI ACT FAQs:

Q.

What content areas are English language learners (ELLs) required to take under federal regulations?

A.

ESEA requires that all students participate in statewide assessment to be used for accountability. Federal regulations provide some flexibility related to the assessment and accountability for recently arrived ELL students only (See 34 CFR § 200.6 (b) (4)).

Districts will need to first determine if the student has recently arrived in the United States before making assessment and accountability decisions. Recently arrived refers to a student that has attended a U.S. school for less than 12 months and has a language proficiency level of 1 or 2 as determined by ACCESS for ELLs®.

A recently arrived ELL may be exempt from one required administration of the state’s English Language Arts assessment. If the student does not participate in the ELA assessment, he or she must participate in ACCESS for ELLS. Recently arrived students must participate in all other content areas, with or without accommodations. Students in a school or district for less than a full academic year (FAY) are counted for test participation only; their assessment results are not factored into school or district report cards.

Note: There is no exemption for WorkKeys and ACT Aspire as they do not fall under federal regulations.

Q.

How are recently arrived ELL students included in accountability calculations if they take the ELA exemption?

A.

If the student does not participate in the ELA assessment, he or she must participate in ACCESS for ELLs®. Recently arrived students must participate in all other content areas, with or without accommodations. Students in district for less than a full academic year (FAY) are counted for test participation only; their assessment results are not factored into school or district report cards.

 

For questions about this information, contact osamail@dpi.wi.gov