The purpose of this study was to determine the validity of state standardized testing English Language Learners are required to participate in as part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Although policymakers continue to debate the minutia of the academic accountability for English Language Learners, the over-arching question of test validity has continued to be ignored. Current federal requirements identify participation in state standardized testing of all English Language Learners who have been in country more than one academic year. Data collected for analysis included English Language Learners’ level of English proficiency, and state standardized testing scores in reading, English language arts, and mathematics. The goal was to determine, using quantitative data, correlations between these variables. The study concludes by highlighting factors to be considered that influence accountability policy at the state and federal level and by making suggestions for future research in the area of assessing English Language Learners for the purpose of increased accuracy for accountability in academic growth and performance.
Through the use of ex-post-facto data, the results of the study identified three findings. The first finding identified that there is a correlation between ELL students’ English language proficiency level and performance on state standardized testing in the areas of reading, English language arts, and mathematics. The second finding in the study, using the Washington English Language Proficiency Assessment (WELPA) to identify student English proficiency levels, recognized that there is a threshold between WELPA levels and the ELL students who are passing state standardized tests. The third finding recognized that there was no significant distinction in state standardized testing between the number of reading/English language arts tests and mathematics tests.