English Language Proficiency and Content Assessment Performance: A Comparison of English Learners and Native English Speakers Achievement

  •  Suzi Miley    
  •  Aarek Farmer    


As a result of the accountability requirements established in Title III of the Elementary and Secondary Educational Act (ESEA) legislation, English Learners (ELs) are expected to make progress in both content area academic achievement and English Language Proficiency (ELP). In Tennessee ELs progress is measured by administering WIDA-Access to assess English language proficiency, and Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) standardized assessments to measure content academic achievement. The purpose of this study was to compare and analyze the performance levels of ELs who achieved the exit criteria on WIDA-Access state mandated English proficiency assessment and their subsequent performance on English Language Arts and Math TCAP assessments. Specifically, a comparison of EL’s achievement on TCAP was compared to the achievement on TCAP of non-ELs. Independent samples t-tests were performed on data from 302 elementary and middle school ELs and non-ELs that participated in WIDA-Access and TCAP assessments in 2015. Data analyses concluded that English Language Arts and Math TCAP scale scores were significantly different between ELs and non-ELs. Achievement levels in both English Language Arts TCAP and Math TCAP for ELs, who achieved the exit criteria on WIDA-Access, were lower than the achievement levels of non-ELs. Discussions of the findings in this study along with implications of using these assessments to measure ELs growth is provided in relation to the increased demands on measuring both the academic achievement and English language progress for ELs.

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