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Reading List: Assessing Language Development

**Sanger Unified School District. (n.d.) Excerpt from Central Valley Foundation Narrative: English Learner Immediate Support and Resource Allocation (ELISANDRA) Project. Sanger, CA: Author. Not available online.


This article provides an overview of Sanger Unified School District’s ELISANDRA Project, a program that aims to increase English learners’ academic achievement and language proficiency by 1) establishing a benchmark assessment to measure progress toward language proficiency, and 2) implementing training and ongoing support for teachers and administrators around the use of this benchmark assessment. The article describes how the district will implement the program and which schools will participate.


Bailey, A. & Heritage, M. (2008). Making reading instruction and assessment work for students and teachers. In Formative assessment for literacy, grades K-6: Building reading and academic language skills across the curriculum (pp. 9-38). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. Available for purchase at


In this chapter, the authors lay out key constructs and strategies related to learning, teaching, and assessing reading practices with a particular focus on academic language. The authors outline specific skills that students should develop (phonological awareness, ability to decode, sight recognition of words, comprehension, and inference-making) and teaching strategies that incorporate these skills and domains. So that teachers can acquire knowledge of students and match content and pedagogy to students’ needs, the authors recommend several assessment practices. They then define and give examples of these different assessment modules, focusing on summative assessments, interim or benchmark assessments, formative assessments, and diagnostic assessments.


Wisconsin Center for Education Research. (2009, September). Focus on formative assessment. WiDA Consortium, 1(2), 1-6. Available at:


This brief focuses on assessing English learners (ELs), stressing that both instruction and assessment of ELs should be designed with two goals: (1) the acquisition of knowledge and skills and (2) the development of academic language. The authors present a model of a balanced assessment system that includes summative, formative, and interim assessments all geared toward learning standards and targets in the key areas. The brief provides definitions for these assessments and a rating form for users of formative assessments.


The McGraw Hill Companies. (2009). Excerpt of the Technical Report for the California English Language Development Test (CELDT) 2008−09 Edition. Submitted to the California Department of Education. Available at

This report excerpt provides a brief overview of content of the California English Language Development Test (CELDT) including the test’s domains—Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing—and the components within each domain (e.g., the “Choose and Give Reasons” component of the “Speaking” portion). The section also presents information on how the test is structured for different grade levels, domains, and item type (e.g., multiple-choice item type) and how the test is scored.

**This document is considered a priority reading.