PARCC Outlines Accommodation Standards for English Language Learners

Thursday, July 18, 2013 -- Andrea Gronberg

In April of this year, edweek.org reported on the challenges facing the two Common Core assessment consortia in creating a level playing field for English language learners (ELLs). Recently, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) identified initial guidelines for providing accommodation for English language learners for their upcoming Common Core assessments.

In its draft Accessibility Features and Accommodations Manual,  PARCC acknowledges that while the “universal design” of its assessments is expected to increase access for all students, “some English learners may need additional accommodations during PARCC assessment administration.”

PARCC provides a table that identifies five assessment accommodations for ELLs and recommends that the accommodation is either highly recommended; recommended; or may not be appropriate, based on the proficiency level (beginning, intermediate, or advanced), of the student. Accommodations include extended time and administrator directions in the student's native language, among others.

That PARCC is anticipating potential issues for ELLs is a positive step. We have always said that the Common Core State Standards are simple in their intent, but can be challenging – to say the least – in their implementation. PARCC has taken a step in addressing a key challenge in implementing their assessments.

What other accessibility issues do you anticipate in implementing Common Core assessments? Are you receiving the support you need in planning for CCSS and its assessments? Let us know.