Support for English Language Learners Classroom Assessment

The SELLCA is an assessment tool that can be used to document the quality of supports for the language and literacy development of young children who speak a language other than English at home in center-based preschool settings. It captures the extent to which best practices in both classroom and parent involvement activities are used by early childhood programs. A classroom observation and interview with the lead teacher are used to complete ratings on the SELLCA. The SELLCA is designed for use in research and in mentoring and professional development efforts to improve the quality of early childhood programs for English language learners.

"When I approach a child, he inspires in me two sentiments; tenderness for what he is, and respect for what he may become."
— Louis Pasteur

Projections indicate that by 2030, 40 % of school-age children will have a home language other than English. All young children have the right to be assessed in ways that support their learning and development. For this reason dual language learners should be assessed in culturally and linguistically responsive ways.

NAEYC recommends the following:
1. Using screenings and assessments for appropriate purposes.
2. All screenings and assessments are culturally and linguistically appropriate.
3. Significant assessment decisions involve two or more professionals.
4. Using standardized formal assessments. Information should be used to monitor and improve learning at an individual level.
5. Characteristics of those conducting assessments- should have cultural and linguistic competence, have knowledge of the children being assessed, and have specific, assessment-related knowledge and skills.
6. The families of young English language learners should be involved in appropriate ways. (Refrain from using family members to conduct formal testing; keep families informed on their child's assessment results; give families ideas on how they can help at home.)
7. Needs in the field include more and better assessments to meet the most pressing needs, adopting policies and pracices to recruit and retain a diverse early childhood workforce; professionals, including program administrators shoud receive ongoing professional development and support in the area of assessing young English language learners.

To read more read "Where we Stand on Assessing Young English Language Learners", 2009, NAEYC.