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Assessment in Multiple Languages

Assessment in Multiple Languages
A Handbook for School and District Leaders

Foreword by Patricia Morita-Mullaney

Additional resources:

August 2021 | 296 pages | Corwin

Assessing the full capabilities of your multilingual learners

Assessment asfor, and of learning complement effective curricular and instructional practices, however, the complexities of assessment for multilingual students are too-often overlooked and misunderstood. What if multilingual learners, teachers, and educational leaders all had opportunities to plan for and use assessment data in multiple languages? Imagine the linguistic, academic, and cultural reservoirs we could tap to highlight what our multilingual learners know and can do. 

Assessment in Multiple Languages: A Handbook for School and District Leaders shows how superintendents, principals, directors, coaches, and other educational leaders can more accurately portray the academic, language, and social-emotional development of multilingual students. As a companion to Classroom Assessment in Multiple Languages, this book illustrates how the assessment cycle unfolds at school and district levels. Together the two books provide comprehensive guidance for enacting linguistically and culturally sustainable assessment in multiple languages in K-12 settings. Grounded in leading-edge research, with an emphasis on instilling equity and social justice in assessment practices, this book: 

  • justifies the legitimacy of assessment in multiple languages 
  • showcases examples from federal to classroom levels
  • provides practical guidance and tools for schoolwide and district level assessment
  • applies to any and all programs with multilingual learners whether in dual-language immersion, bilingual, or monolingual settings.
Written by leading multilingual education and assessment authority Margo Gottlieb, this guide will help educational leaders highlight the true capabilities of multilingual learners. 

See the companion book for teachers, Classroom Assessment in Multiple Languages: A Handbook for Teachers 

About the Author
Chapter 1: Looking at Assessment Through the Lens of Multilingual Learners
The Dilemma: But English learners isn’t an appropriate term (or label), and initial screening only in English isn’t an accurate depiction of who our multilingual learners are and what they can do!

Federal Influence on Terminology and Assessment

The Resurgence of Bilingual and Dual Language Education

Competing Theories and Views of Assessment

Creating Language and Assessment Policies

Multilingual Learners and Social-Emotional Learning

Tips for Assessment in Multiple Languages

Facing the Issue: Rethink Terminology and Language Education Models

Resolving the Dilemma: Accentuate Equitable Assessment Practices for Multilingual Learners!

Resources for School and District Leaders

Chapter 2: Getting Started With Assessment in Multiple Languages
The Dilemma: But I only speak English! How can I be expected to communicate in other languages?

How Language Policy Informs Assessment in Multiple Languages

Effective Leadership in Programs Cultivating Multiple Languages

Supporting Multilingual Learners During Difficult Times

The Assessment Cycle in Multiple Languages

Purposes for Assessment Involving Multilingual Learners

Data Associated With Assessment as, for, and of Learning

Understanding the Basics of Assessment of Learning

Evoking Systemic Change Through Social Justice

Facing the Issue: Advocate on Behalf of Your Multilingual Learners and Their Families

Resolving the Dilemma: Enlist Families and the Community in the Assessment Process!

Resources for School and District Leaders

Chapter 3: Planning Curriculum and Assessment in Multiple Languages
The Dilemma: The students are returning to school speaking a mix of languages!

Stimulating Assessment in Multiple Languages Through Distributive Leadership

Assessment as an Expression of Curriculum Design

Resources for Curriculum and Assessment in Multiple Languages

A Multilingual Curriculum Framework With Embedded Assessment

Common Assessment for Schools and Districts

Student Assessment Portfolios in Multiple Languages

Facing the Issue: Utilize Multilingual Learners’ Resources to Maximize Their Language Learning

Resolving the Dilemma: Put Trust in Your Multilingual Learners’ Language Use!

Resources for School and District Leaders

Chapter 4: Collecting and Organizing Assessment Information in Multiple Languages
The Dilemma: Discrimination abounds against multilingualism and multiculturalism . . . What can we do?

The Role of Leadership in Collecting Data in Multiple Languages

Advice for Collecting Data in a Post-Pandemic World

Improving Accessibility in Data Collection

Revisiting Resources for Assessment in Multiple Languages

Co-planning Data Collection in Multiple Languages

Collecting and Organizing Common Assessment in Multiple Languages

Organizing and Assembling Assessment Portfolios in Multiple Languages

Facing the Issue: Collect Data in Multiple Languages Using Multiple Resources to Form a Convincing Body of Evidence

Resolving the Dilemma: Take Responsibility for Diminishing Discrimination for Multilingual Learners and Their Families!

Resources for School and District Leaders

Chapter 5: Interpreting Information and Providing Feedback in Multiple Languages
The Dilemma: There simply aren’t enough qualified language teachers, so let’s place multilingual learners in “special education” classes for support.

Examining Data in Multiple Languages

Common Assessment in Multiple Languages

Collaboration in Providing Consistent Feedback

Interim/Annual Assessment in Multiple Languages

Standardized Testing: Reassessing Validity Claims

Interpreting Data in Multiple Languages for Local Accountability

Facing the Issue: Never Consider Special Education as an Option for Multilingual Learners (Unless Duly Warranted)

Resolving the Dilemma: Use Multiple Data Approaches, Sources, and Languages When Assessing Multilingual Learners!

Resources for School and District Leaders

Chapter 6: Evaluating and Reporting Assessment Information
The Dilemma: But how can we evaluate the effectiveness of instruction or programs for multilingual learners in multiple languages if we only depend on results from assessment in one language?

An Equity Framework for Assessing Multilingual Learners

Another Single Story, A Different Scenario: State Reclassification Criteria

Creating Assessment-Capable Students and Schools

Evaluating Linguistically and Culturally Responsive Assessment Practices

The Role of Rubrics in Evaluating and Reporting Assessment Results

Reporting Assessment Results

Reconsidering Grading Practices

Multilingual Learners’ Role in Evaluation and Reporting

Facing the Issue: Consider the Many Stories of Multilingual Learners and Their Families

Resolving the Dilemma: Never Evaluate Evidence or Programs for Multilingual Learners Based on a Single Story!

Resources for School and District Leaders

Chapter 7: Taking Action Based on Assessment Results
The Dilemma: The “‘COVID slide’ may be especially troublesome for English-language learners, the 5 million students still learning English in the nation’s K–12 schools” (Mitchell, 2020). How will schools and districts measure multilingual learners’ “COVID

Action 1: Engage in Reflective Practice and Inquiry

Action 2: Determine Priorities in Assessing in Multiple Languages

Action 3: Challenge the Status Quo in Assessment: Take the Multilingual Turn

Action 4: Assess Multilingual Learners From a Strengths-Based Lens

Action 5: Enact Effective Assessment Practices in Multiple Languages

Action 6: Use Assessment Data in Multiple Languages to Leverage Systemic Change

Taking Action: Lessons Learned From Crises

Facing the Issue: Consider Crises as Eye-Opening Opportunities for Multilingual Learners

Resolving the Dilemma: Provide Equitable Educational Opportunities to All Minoritized Students, Including Assessment in Multiple Languages for Multilingual Learners!

Resources for School and District Leaders



"Margo Gottlieb provides resolutions and resources to tackle the most important dilemma in educating multilingual learners equitably—their assessment. By presenting cases that highlight the different issues that school and district leaders face when gauging the learning of multilingual learners, Gottlieb shows her encyclopedic understandings of the condition of their education today and the role that monolingual assessments have played in unfairly judging them. But in addition, Gottlieb demonstrates her common-sense and imaginative approach to ensure that multilingual learners are assessed fairly. Every assessment dilemma is given resolutions, as Gottlieb gently guides school and district leaders to perceive assessment from the students’ multilingual perspective, and then provides them with the resources they would need to act differently. 

"Not only is assessment for multilingual learners reframed here; the multilingual students are reimagined as able and gifted users of their language repertoire. Gottlieb presents herself as a warrior for social justice—one armed with information about what is, the gift of imagining what could be, and the generosity of leading gently with simple steps that could be followed. This book is unique in its vision and guidance. It is focused on assessments for multilingual learners, and yet it is much more than that. It is about policy, curriculum, pedagogy; it is also about social justice and advocacy, especially when learning during a pandemic and a period of racial and social unrest. It is just what school and district leaders need today."

Ofelia García, Professor Emerita
The Graduate Center, City University of New York

"This book is a must for any school leader who wants to turn students’ and teachers’ multilingualism into an educational advantage. The discussion is packed with practicable ideas and resources for language assessment that are informed by research and professional experience."

Constant Leung, Professor of Educational Linguistics
King’s College London, School of Education, Communication and Society

"Assessment in Multiple Languages: A Handbook For School And District Leaders is a must read for all students in education administration programs in higher education, for policy makers, and for current school administrators. A foremost expert in multilingual education and assessment, Dr. Margo Gottlieb uses a combination of research-based assessment principles combined with useful 'can do' examples that will be of great use for administrators and other educators serving multilingual learners. In dismantling inequity and evoking educational change, Dr. Gottlieb invites us to balance assessment approaches with strategies that are inclusive of '…assessment as, for, and of learning …from the classroom to the boardroom.' I recommend her book highly."

Joel Gómez, President & CEO
Center for Applied Linguistics

"This book approaches the issue of assessment from the multilingual learners’ perspective. Excellent approach! Reframing language education models and understanding the basics of assessment of learning are topics all school and district leaders will find most helpful for supporting multilingual learners in difficult times. The book contains key resources for planning, gathering, and conducting assessments: planning curriculum, interpreting information, providing feedback in multiple languages, and taking action based on assessment results."

Margarita Espino Calderón, Professor Emerita
Johns Hopkins University

"This book is a must-read for anyone who cares about equitable and meaningful assessment for multilingual learners. Margo Gottlieb makes a compelling case for assessing these students in multiple languages. Through insightful case studies presented as dilemmas, and a rich, comprehensive collection of tools and resources, the book offers everything the reader needs to get started with or to transform existing assessment practices."

Andrea Honigsfeld, Associate Dean
Educational Leadership for Diverse Learning Communities, Ed.D. Program, Molloy College

"Assessment in Multiple Languages: A Handbook For School And District Leaders is a true deep dive into the importance of assessment in multiple languages – a moral imperative to ensure appropriate assessments are created for and serve culturally and linguistically divers students. Our educational leadership and policy makers must utilize this the important work for ensuring accountability and commitment to supporting effective instructional practice.

"Assessment in Multiple Languages: A Handbook For School And District Leaders is an answer to prayer. It is a moral imperative for tackling social justice issues that currently exist with assessments developed and produced for Native Monolingual English speakers and forced upon our culturally and linguistically diverse student populations.

"It we are truly interested in knowing our students’ academic, linguistic and socio-cultural competence then we must capture and understand their proficiencies through all of their languages.

"Who knew that there could be a common assessment for multiple languages? This new resource is timely, as there is a growing voice to strengthen and expand K-12 Dual Language Immersion Education. Developing a large-scale testing system on the tenants and guidance of this resource that works for DLI, is now within reach!"

David Rogers, Executive Director
Dual Language Education New Mexico

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