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A Vision for Using an Argument-Based Framework for Validity Applied to a Comprehensive System of Assessments for English Learners in Secondary Grades

By Margaret Heritage, Caroline Wylie, Molly Faulkner-Bond, and Aída Walqui

INTRODUCTION   |   PART 1   |   PART 2   |   PART 3    |   PART 4    |   PART 5    |   PART 6    |   PART 7    |   PART 8    |   PART 9   |   REFERENCES    |   APPENDICES



The purpose of this document is to present a vision for a system of assessments for English Learners in secondary grades that brings assessment closer to the classroom and fully involves teachers in assessment development and validation. By reimagining a system of assessments, our intention is to signal a new and equitable direction and to provoke reflection and debate among all those concerned with improving outcomes for English Learners.


The vision centers on the development and implementation of a learning-centered comprehensive assessment system (CAS): a “comprehensive set of means for eliciting evidence of student performance” (NRC, 2001, p. 20) in support of assessment use to enhance the learning of secondary-grade English Learners across content areas. The aim of this CAS Framework is to ground assessment in the classroom and to create a coherent through line from formative assessment to assessments used for accountability. In this way, enhancing the teaching and learning for English Learners is paramount.


Part 1: The Problem that the CAS Framework is Aiming to Address

Part 2: Perspective on Language Development

Part 3: Current Assessment System

Part 4: Inverting the Assessment System

Part 5: The CAS Framework

Part 6: An Argument-Based Approach to Validity

Part 7: Using a Community of Practice Approach to Evaluate the Validity Argument for Classroom-Based Assessment

Part 8: Propositions, Claims and Evidence for the Assessments in the CAS Framework

Part 9: Validity of the System




    This vision for a CAS will be partially implemented over three years in an iterative study of secondary-level teachers’ use of high-quality replacement units (developed in line with the pedagogical approaches described in the background paper). As teachers grapple with the CAS vision in practice, areas that need additional clarifications or need to be trimmed back to be more feasible, or require more support structures to help a Community Of Practitioners (COP) enact the validation process will likely be revealed. The CAS vision will be revised in response to data from this study.

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