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JVH and The Voice: Grad Rates, High-Stakes Testing, and ELs

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Julian Vasquez Heilig discusses his paper, “Understanding the Interaction Between High Stakes Graduation Tests and English Learners” on the Teacher College Record web program The Voice. The Voice are videos featuring interviews about new educational research from the Teachers College Record. Search all episodes of The Voice at

Vasquez Heilig, J. (2011). Understanding the interaction between high-stakes graduation tests and English language learnersTeachers College Record, 113(12), 2633–2669.

This article underscores the legitimacy of the concern that ELs experience unintended consequences associated with high-stakes exit testing and accountability policy and suggests that social justice and equity are ratiocinative critiques of high-stakes testing and accountability policies. The next round of federal and state educational policy must be a mandate that provides support for ELs to meet performance standards by providing evidence-based solutions: appropriate curriculum, pedagogy, and well-trained teachers. Furthermore, policy makers, practitioners, and researchers should be cognizant of the less intrusive approach that many ELs and their families have toward schools by reconsidering whether “one size fits all” high-stakes exit testing policies are plausible for increasingly heterogeneous student populations. The use of multiple measures of EL student success in content areas, such as portfolios, is an accountability mechanism that makes sense, not just for ELs, but for all students.

See also my 2011 keynote on ELLs and exit testing at the US Department of Education, Office of English Language Acquisition on UStream.

About Dr. Julian Vasquez Heilig (705 Articles)
Julian Vasquez Heilig is an award-winning researcher and teacher. He is currently a Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and the Director of the Doctorate in Educational Leadership at California State Sacramento.

1 Comment on JVH and The Voice: Grad Rates, High-Stakes Testing, and ELs

  1. John Young // March 7, 2013 at 9:04 pm // Reply

    Reblogged this on Transparent Christina.


3 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Dear Jennifer: Dissent is the Vibrancy of our Democracy | Cloaking Inequity
  2. A Trinity of Counter-Narrative: NCLB-Style Standards, High-Stakes Testing, and Accountability | Cloaking Inequity
  3. ELs: Transformational power of policy, access, and equality | Cloaking Inequity

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