For the last 2 months I'd been anxiously waiting to attend Dr. Ortiz's training “Evidence Based Instruction and Evaluation of Diverse Learners Using Culture-Language Interpretive Matrix” in Katy ISD. The launch of C-LIM and the recommended “Best Practices Approach for Evaluating ELLs” is really changing the way we have been doing bilingual assessment here in Texas. I had so many questions and concerns. Honestly, I must say that Dr. Ortiz answered most of them. He provided a comprehensive analysis of the issues that the current bilingual assessments procedures, as well as the recommended Best Practice Approach.
From my conference notes, I summarized this approach in two steps:
Step 1. Assessment of Bilinguals-rule out difference vs. disorder:
Administer all tests in standardized manner in English only, no modifications. This was such a shock for me and the audience in general. We no longer determine language proficiency first? We no longer test in the native language? No, is the answer to both questions. As dramatic as this may sound, research supports this procedure even if the student is currently enrolled in a bilingual program, and has very, very limited English language proficiency.
According to Dr. Ortiz, testing in English is the only way to determine if the deficits are truly due to language and/or cultural differences
Score tests and enter scores for analysis via the C-LIM
Step 2. Bilingual Assessment –validate disorder in other language:
After reviewing previous results, select test that assesses areas of weakness identified in step 1. Use one of the following methods:
.Native language test administered in the native language
.Native language test administered via assistance of a trained interpreter
.Informally translated test administered via assistance of a trained interpreter
It is definitely nerve racking to think about sitting at an ARD meeting and try to convey this information (tons of research and technical wording) to the members of the committee that just want an explanation of why the student is not learning.
This new approach also means that will be recommending changes as far as instructional programming for ELL’s students within the general education setting.
Region 4 will be announcing the upcoming Cross Battery update training date -schedule for April 2013, and possible future visits from Dr. Ortiz.
For those of you who perhaps are not as familiar with Dr. Ortiz’s research, here is a snapshot of his work:
Dr. Ortiz has studied and published on topics that include assessment of culturally and linguistically diverse individuals, application of modern intelligence theory in testing through CHC Cross-Battery assessment methods, differentiating cultural and linguistic differences from disorders, and development of the CHC Culture-Language Matrix as a method for determining the primary influence of culture and language on test performance. He recently authored three chapters in NASP's Best Practices IV on nondiscriminatory assessment, contemporary intellectual assessment, and working with culturally and linguistically diverse children and families.