Including Students who are Deaf or Hard-of-hearing in English Language Proficiency Assessments: A Review of State Policies

Laurene L Christensen, Deb Albus, Aleksis P Kincaid, Kristin K Liu PhD, Elizabeth M Christian, Martha L Thurlow


A report documenting participation and accommodation policies for English language learners (ELLs) who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing (HH) on English language proficiency (ELP) assessments used for Title III accountability. Accommodations policies are discussed with reference to five accommodations commonly used by ELLs who are Deaf/HH, including: Sign Interpret Directions, Sign Interpret Questions, Visual Cues, Sign Response, and Amplification Equipment. Over time, states' policies on participation and accommodations on ELP assessments for ELLs who are Deaf/HH have continued to evolve and become more detailed. Still, there is room for improvement. States should continue to evaluate the construct being measured by each domain and evaluate how specific accommodations impact the validity of student scores. Controversial accommodations should be re-evaluated to make sure that the greatest numbers of students have access to the assessment while maintaining the construct being measured. States should also determine whether and in what circumstances selective participation by domain is appropriate for ELLs who are Deaf/HH.

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  • Specific life stage
    • Children
    • Adolescents and young adults
  • Educational accountability and assessment
    • English Learners with Disabilities
    • Accessibility & Accommodations
    • Assessment Participation