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Is the CELDT test appropriate for English Language Learners?

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Alex Hamilton

on 14 February 2014

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Transcript of Is the CELDT test appropriate for English Language Learners?

Federal law (Title III of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act [ESEA] and state law (Education Code [EC] sections 313 and 60810 through 60812) require a statewide English language proficiency test that local educational agencies (LEAs) must administer to students in kindergarten through grade twelve whose primary language is not English and to students previously identified as English learners (ELs) who have not been reclassified as fluent English proficient (RFEP). California Code of Regulations, Title 5, Section 10510, defines the test as the California English Language Development Test (CELDT).
"Reliability refers to the degree to which a measure is consistent and dependably produces the same result."(Stokes and Goldenberg 6)
A test can claim to be valid if it measures what it claims to be measuring. There are different types of validity that are measured (Diaz 213).
What is the CELDT?
CELDT stands for the California English Language Development Test, which is a test that measures how well a student can listen, speak, read, and write in English.
Reliability vs. Validity
A test can be reliable by giving you consistent results, but it does not make it valid or true measure.
However, a test can never be valid if it does not obtain reliable results.
Types of Reliability
Internal consistent reliability
Internal consistency makes sure that the assessment is measuring the same type of material and that there are no random items measuring something different.
CTB/McGraw-Hill (2007) reported:

"Internal consistency reliability coefficients for the 2006-2007 version of the CELDT ranging from .8 to .93 across all grades and domains." (
Stokes and Goldenberg 7)

These statistics are typical for tests that are the length of the CELDT test.
Types of Reliability
This means that a student who have taken the same test twice in a short period of time would receive the same score on both tests.

Unfortunately, there is no statistical data on test-retest reliability for the CELDT test. This is an area of concern.
Types of Reliability
Interrater Reliability
This measures how closely the results are when two or more people administer and/or score a the same test individually.

High interrater reliability is when two people yield very similar results when scoring the same test.

CTB/McGraw-Hill(2007) reported:

"The sentence-writing questions that two raters provided the same ratings for 77.2% to 85.8% of all questions." (
Stokes and Goldenberg 7 )
Writing composition section- two raters provided the same score 66% to 71.2% of the time"(Stokes and Goldenberg)

Both of these statistical scores are considered acceptable
California Code of Regulations
Additionally, Section 3302 of Title III of the ESEA (20 United States Code Section 7012) indicates that LEAs that receive Title III funds shall, not later than 30 days after the beginning of the school year or within two weeks of the child being enrolled in a language instruction program after the beginning of the school year, inform parents or guardians of the reasons for the identification of their child as an EL and that the child is in need of placement in a language instruction program.

Students who have previously taken the CELDT and were identified as English Learners (ELs) must be tested annually during the AA Window (first day of school to October 31st) until they are reclassified as fluent English proficient (RFEP) based on the guidelines for reclassification established by the State Board of Education (EC Section 313 [d]).
What is the CELDT used for?
Identify English learners in Kindergarten through grade twelve.
Measure their skill level in English.
Check their progress in learning English each year.

What does the CELDT cover?
-CELDT covers listening, speaking, reading, and writing for all grades tested.
-The CELDT is based on California English Language Development Standards, adopted by the State Board of Education.
Alternative Assessments
-Students with disabilities who are unable to take the entire CELDT (or any section of the test) with variations, accommodations, or modifications shall:
Be administered an alternate assessment for English language proficiency as set forth in their IEP.
Receive the lowest obtain scale score for the section(s) of the test for which alternate assessments were administered.
CELDT Domains and Test Components for ELLs

-Following Oral Directions
-Word Analysis
-Teacher Talk
-Fluency and Vocabulary
-Extended Listening Comprehension
-Rhyming (Grades k-2 only)
-Grades K & 1
-Oral Vocabulary
-Copying Letters and Words
-Speech Functions
-Writing Words
-Choose and Give Reasons
-Punctuation and Capitalization
-4-Picture Narrative
-Grades 2-12

-Grammar and Structure

-Writing Sentences

-Writing Short Compositions

What are the CELDT Results used for?
-CELDT results help schools classify students into one of the three categories:
ELLs: Students who need to improve English skills successfully participate in the regular school program.
Initial Fluent English Proficient (IFEP): Students identified as fluent in English after they take the CELDT for the first time.
RFEP: Students initially identifies as ELLs, but later meet the requirements for English Language Proficiency.
Is the CELDT test appropriate for English Language Learners?
Explain culturally biased, usage, and other testing areas i.e. reliability, validity, ect.
Explain and define the terms as you explain how appropriate is is for ELL's.

Cultural Bias
Could the CELDT be biased in a way that would benefit one culture over another?

Cultural Bias: refers to a situation in a standardized test that is inappropriate for a certain audience.

*In other words, the exam is not testing the student's actual knowledge of a taught subject or includes details tied to a culture that the student is unfamiliar with, it can be identified as a culturally biased test.
Content Validity: Samples content in a representative way (Diaz 213).
Empirical Validity: A measure of how effectively a test relates to some other other known measure (Diaz 213).
Construct Validity: the degree to which a test accurately reflects or assesses
the specific knowledge, skills, or abilities it purports to measure (Stokes and Goldenberg 192).
Two Types of Empirical Validity
Predictive: How well the test correlates with subsequent success of performance (Diaz 213).
Concurrent: How well the test correlates with another measure used at the same time.
Teachers often apply concurrent validity when grading examinations; intuitively they expect better students to receive better scores. This is a concurrent test between the student's performance on the exam, and their daily performance in regular classwork (Diaz 213).
Concerns About the Validity of the CELDT
The CELDT is supposed to measure English language proficiency, however:
There is no generally accepted definition of “language proficiency” or of the various levels that describe degrees of proficiency, such as Beginning, Early Intermediate, and so forth (Stokes and Goldenberg 192).
McGraw-Hill conducted a study in 2005 based upon this issue:
English development experts conducted independent English proficiency assessments of 1,384 students and then compared their results to proficiency levels assigned by the CELDT (Stokes and Goldenberg 192).
McGraw-Hill Independent Testing Results
Professional English Development Evaluators
Each evaluator conducted an individual assessment of English language proficiency for each of the 1,384 students (Stokes and Goldenberg 192).
CELDT Level Proficiency Assessments
Using the rubrics specified within the CELDT guidelines each student was placed in a proficiency category based upon their results (Stokes and Goldenberg 192).
Same Students, Different Results
"The results showed that the experts and the CELDT classified students into the same proficiency level just
of the time" (Stokes and Goldenberg 192).
of the time the experts and the CELDT were one proficiency level off" (Stokes and Goldenberg 192).
"This means, then, that
of the time the CELDT and the experts disagreed on students’ exact English proficiency levels" (Stokes & Goldenberg 193).
"A test that might incorrectly estimate students’ proficiency level up to 60%
of the time is problematic" (Stokes and Goldenberg 193).
Keep in mind these results are from a few years ago, however, Educational Data Systems has not released new data in opposition to these results.

Is Cultural Bias to Blame?
Spanish ELL students who have taken the CELDT tests over the observed years (2001-02, 2005-06, 2009-10, 2012-13) on average had a lower percentage of students score in Advanced and Early Advanced than the other observed cultures.

There is no credible evidence that Cultural Bias is to blame for any poor results during CELDT testing.
statistical evidence based off of data compiled by California Department of Education Assessment Development and Administration Division.
statistical evidence based off of data compiled by California Department of Education Assessment Development and Administration Division.
Stokes-Guinan, Katie and Claude Goldenberg. "Use With Caution: What CELDT Results Can and Cannot Tell Us." The CATESOL Journal 22.1 (2010/2011): 6-202 Web.9 February 2014
Cohen, L.G and L.G spenciner. "Reliability in Assessments" Education.com. Pearson, 20 July 2010. Web. 12 Feb 2014
Errors in Assessment Reliability
Errors Can occur due to the following:

The Environment: Any distractions such as "noise levels, poor lighting, and room temperature."(Cohen and Spenciner)
The Student: "Hunger, fatigue, illness, difficulty understanding test instructions."(Cohen and Spenciner)
The Examiner:" Unclear directions, insensitivity to student's culture, language, preferences, or other characteristics, ambiguous scoring, errors associated with recording information about the student."(Cohen and Spenciner)
The test: "Ambiguously worded questions, biased questions, and different interpretations of the wording of test questions"(Cohen and Spenciner)
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