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School district completes new second-language testing

This year the California Department of Education implemented a new test for students who are English learners called the California English Language Development Test (CELDT). CELDT is now a part of the state's Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) program. The STAR program includes the SAT-9 and the Spanish Assessment of Basic Education (SABE 2). CELDT has three purposes:

1.) To initially identify students with a home language other than English as either an English learner (EL) or an initial fluent English proficient student (I-FEP).

2.) To assess annually all EL students for measuring progress towards English proficiency.

3.) To serve as one of multiple criteria that a student must meet in order to be reclassified as fluent English proficient (R-FEP).

The state has adopted CELDT as a single standardized measurement of meeting the English Language Development (ELD) standards. It has four sections: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The listening and speaking sections of CELDT were most challenging to administer, because they require one-on-one administration. Each test requires taping and transcribing the retelling of a story by the student.

This process can take up to an hour to administer and score. As a result, CELDT testing is very costly—approximately $26 per student. However, state funding of the test is $1.50 per student.

Why was CELDT created? Previous testing was not directly linked to the ELD standards and was not required on an annual basis for all English Learners. In addition, with previous testing, districts commonly tested students only in the listening and speaking sections. Further, districts could choose from among five different tests.

CELDT is administered July 1-October 31 each year. In 2001, the first year of CELDT testing, the West Contra Cost Unified School District’s Bilingual/ELD Services Department completed a total of 9,865 assessments, representing a 98 percent completion rate.

Dyann Easton-Brown led this tremendous effort of dedicated teamwork that involved the entire ELD staff. Special thanks goes to Dr. Randi Hagen and Roseanne Smith of the Testing and Accountability office.

Source: Toni Oklan-Arko in the school district publication Friday FYI, Dec. 7

Run dates: 2001-12-07 - 2001-12-21

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