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Stanford English Language Proficiency

The Stanford English Language Proficiency Test (Stanford ELP) is a “criterion referenced assessments” with the primary purpose of testing the proficiency of English language users from grades K-12 with regard to their “listening, reading, writing, speaking and comprehension skills” (McGinty Dixie). The publication date of the test is 2005-2006 and is based on the 1997 version standards of the TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) and on individual state standards for students whose second language is English (ESL).

The test functions primarily to determine whether a student possesses the vital skills in English language to function appropriately in class settings where English is the language of instruction. The scores are based on the various subtests which include skills including listening reading, writing conventions and writing. Each student taking the test receives “developmental scale score and a performance level” depending upon the academic level of the student taking the test.

The subsets of Listening, writing conventions and reading comprise of about sixty to sixty eight multiple choice questions, the complexity of which depends on the level of the test being taken. The writing is assessed either by the publisher or locally in response matter which may be scored by the student. The speaking subtest is administered individually to the student and scores are based on the performance of nineteen oral items, by the examiner of the subtest on the basis of the criteria in the test.

The test is not timed and the publisher estimates that it would require about ninety minutes for primary and elementary students to complete the test and about hundred minutes for middle and high school grade children for its completion. The test may be administered individually or in a group. The author and publisher of the test is Harcourt Assessment Inc 19500 Bulverde Road San Antonio. Technical Characteristics Validity and Reliability On the basis of the content of the test and its internal structure the validity of the test appears to be strong.

The test was developed with the participation of content experts using standards based test blueprints and all the items included in the test were matched with the standards of instruction of the appropriate test. However, the evidence has not been mentioned and the manual only states that “individual state English as a second language” is the foundation of the test, with no actual evidence. Evidence of validity has been provided by the correlations of scores between the Stanford (ELP) and the Stanford Diagnostic Reading Test and ranges from 0. 76 to 0.

80 (Gerald Tindal). The Whole-test reliability coefficients displayed a range of 0. 92 to 0. 96 at all levels of the test proving “strong internal consistency” (Harcourt Assessment Inc). The retest reliability coefficient estimates have been omitted, which is “serious omission” because the test has three different forms. The reliability that all the three forms of the test are parallel has not been proved by the publisher and it cannot be validated that the scores of the students taking the test would not be determined on which form of the test they are taking.

Performance levels of the test were set up with a modified Angoff (1971) procedure which was conducted on the internet is a span of 10 days in January of 2003. There is no logical explanation why a student from grade 9 who receives a score of 670 on the speaking subset is termed as ‘proficient’ but a student from the eighth grade with the same score on the same subset is termed as “intermediate’ (Table G. 2 of technical manual). Commentary on Test The Stanford ELP is a “well organized test” and which could be particularly useful for school personnel to gauge the level of English language proficiency among students (Gerald Tindal).

The test has been describes as one which is organized systematically and has enough support material. It has also been professionally designed with several tasks to enable students taking the test to respond to and illustrate their skills in the areas of listening, writing conventions, reading, writing and speaking. The detailed tables included in the test allow interpretation of performance on the basis of scaled scores so that judgments can be made at 5 levels of language user categories including the pre-emergent, emergent stage, basic, intermediate and proficient users of English language.

Personal Commentary on the Test The Stanford ELP test has strong face validity and is a useful tool for measuring the level of proficiency of students of K-12. The test is highly comprehensive with systematic organization of data. However, the test development process does not have any empirical data to prove that all the three forms of the test are parallel since no assurance has been provided that the examinee’s scores will not be dependant on the type of test taken. Due to the lack of test-retest reliability coefficients, gains or growth measured by the test cannot with certainty.

There seems to be no logical explanation in the comparison of two adjacent test levels, such as, why two students of different grades but identical scores are classified differently. Since the Stanford ELP has been based on the 1997 version of the standards which have undergone revision ever since and focus comprehensively on “academic language needed for the core content areas of language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies” (TESOL, 2006). The Stanford-ELP Fact Sheet ? Title: Stanford English Language Proficiency Test ? Author: Harcourt Assessment Inc

? Publication Date : 2005-2006 ? Publisher: Harcourt Assessment Inc 19500 Bulverde Road San Antonio TX 78259-3701 ? Acronym: Stanford-ELP ? Mental Measurements Yearbook: 17 Mental Measurements Yearbook ? Purpose: Designed to evaluate “the listening, reading, writing, speaking, and comprehension skills” of English language learners. ? Population: Grades preK-12. LE-Readiness, Preliteracy, Primary, Elementary, Middle Grades, High School. ? Manual: Technical manual, 2005, 191 pages ? Comments: The test requires the use of a cassette player.

? The Test is composed of five subtests: ? Listening (group administered selected-response, multiple-choice tests) ? Writing Conventions (group administered selected-response, multiple-choice tests) ? Reading (group administered selected-response, multiple-choice tests) ? Writing (uses a constructed-response format) ? Speaking (individually administered) ? Time: Not timed. (about 90 to 100 minutes) References Angoff, W. H. (1971). Scales, norms, and equivalent scores. In R. L. Thorndike (Ed. ), Educational measurement (2nd ed. , pp. 508-600).

Washington, DC: American Council on Education. Dixie McGinity, Associate Professor of Educational Research, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC Gerald Tindal, Professor, University of Oregon, Eugene. Harcourt Assessment Inc 19500 Bulverde Road San Antonio TX 78259-3701 Mental Measurements Yearbook 17 Mental Measurements Yearbook Accession Number 17043318 Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). (2006). PreK-12 English language proficiency standards: An augmentation of the WIDA English language proficiency standards. Alexandria, VA: Author.

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