Assessment and Placement of Language Minority Students: Procedures for Mainstreaming.
De George, George P.
National Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education, Wheaton, MD. (BBB21974)
No of pages:
The purpose of this paper is to stimulate discussion about what mainstreaming a language minority student really means. Those who administer and implement bilingual and English-as-a-second- language (ESL) programs should examine how well they are preparing their students to be effective learners in the English- speaking educational mainstream. This paper views mainstreaming as a placement decision, which concerns moving a limited-English- proficient (LEP) student from a bilingual or ESL program and placing the student in an all-English mainstream educational program. Many steps are involved in making such a decision. First, it must be determined what types of information are needed to make mainstreaming decisions. For instance, in determining the eligibility of an LEP student for a mainstream science class, it is necessary to assess the language and skill demands of the classroom and to determine whether the LEP student is able to meet those demands. Second, a method must be decided on for gathering the necessary information. No one instrument may be sufficient to meet all the needs of assessment. Many schools are turning to a multi-instrument approach, which combines norm- referenced, criterion-referenced, and non-traditional informal tests. Existing instruments can be used or adapted, or new instruments can be developed. Third, it is important that data collection be properly managed. Someone must be in charge of the process and have available staff and resources. Finally, the data must be analyzed. The underlying criterion of such analysis is whether or not the student in question has sufficient mastery in subject area content, skills, and language proficiency to successful in a mainstream classroom. The skill with which data collected is analyzed has much to do with whether well-informed and effective mainstreaming decisions are made concerning LEP students. Various examples are provided of mainstreaming procedures used the various States, with tables illustrating these procedures. Forty-seven references are cited. (IEW)