New Measures of English Language Proficiency and Their Relationship to Performance on Large-Scale Content Assessments

Organization: Caroline Parker, Josephine Louie, Laura O'Dwyer. Institute of Education Sciences. U.S. Department of Education.

The U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences (IES)’s "New Measures of English Language Proficiency and their Relationship to Performance on Large-scale Content Assessments" (2009) reports the findings of a study designed to determine whether students' performance on an English proficiency assessment (ACCESS for ELLs) could predict their performance on a large-scale content assessment (the New England Common Assessment Program, or NECAP). The findings are important because they demonstrate that the English proficiency assessments that schools depend upon to guide placement and instruction for their English language learners can, indeed, be effective for that purpose, and they can also help schools identify students who may have difficulty on large-scale content assessments. In addition, these findings point teachers and administrators to the types of proficiency tasks that are the best indicators of students' performance in content area subjects (i.e., reading and writing tasks as opposed to listening and speaking tasks).


Parker, C. E., Louie, J., and O'Dwyer, L. (2009). New measures of English language proficiency and their relationship to performance on large-scale content assessments (Issues & Answers Report, REL 2009-No. 066). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Regional Educational Laboratory Northeast and Islands. Retrieved from