How can you combat the challenges of equitable identification with English Language Learners?MHS
The formal identification of high ability students with limited English language proficiency has been an ongoing challenge with respect to the goals of equity. The Naglieri General Ability Tests (Naglieri, Brulles, & Landsdowne, 2021) have been developed to combat these challenges in testing and provide a more equitable solution. The Naglieri General Ability Tests feature language-free animated test instructions and item content that has been carefully designed to be nearly culture-free; reducing the demand for academic knowledge and allowing students to solve problems regardless of the language they speak.
Moreover, the Naglieri General Ability Tests measure reasoning skills through verbal, nonverbal, and quantitative content areas in as fair and equitable a manner as possible. Until recently, testing students with limited English proficiency would require significant accommodations, or the omission of language-intensive test sections, or reliance solely on nonverbal tests. These modifications may limit the extent to which English Language Learners (ELLs) could demonstrate their abilities, especially when state mandates for gifted identification include additional evidence based on verbal and/or quantitative content. The Naglieri General Ability Tests address these shortcomings in the gifted & talented identification space and provide a much-needed solution in support of equitable identification of those with limited English proficiency.
To ensure that the Naglieri General Ability Tests were appropriate for students with varied language backgrounds, test scores were compared between students who spoke English as their primary language and students who spoke another language as their primary language (termed “English Language Learners” or “ELL”).
In order to investigate potential differences, standard scores were generated from the raw scores for all students within the development sample for each of the Naglieri General Ability Tests (for a detailed description of samples and scoring methods, see the Technical Manual; Naglieri, Brulles, & Lansdowne, 2021). A matched sample of students from Kindergarten through Grade 9 was selected, pairing 158 English students with 158 ELL students that had the same demographic characteristics (i.e., age, gender, geographic region in the U.S., enrollment in a free or reduced-price lunch program, gifted status, and presence of a learning disorder or behavior disorder). The test scores for each group were then compared statistically (see Figure 1).
Results of this analysis revealed that there were no statistically significant differences between the English and ELL groups. For both groups, across all three tests, average scores hovered around 100, which is the mean standard score based on a normative sample and corresponds to the 50th percentile. As seen in the figure above, the differences between the English and ELL groups are virtually non-existent, and both groups are scoring close to a percentile rank of 50.
The trivial differences observed through this analysis provide support for the fairness of the Naglieri General Ability Tests, such that test scores generalize across individuals with diverse linguistic backgrounds.