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Assessing Multilingual Learners

Assessing Multilingual Learners
Bridges to Empowerment

Third Edition

Foreword by Margaret E. Malone

November 2023 | 344 pages | Corwin

Empowering multilingual learners, families, and teachers

With its emphasis on relationship building as the backdrop for linguistically and culturally sustainable assessment, the bestselling second edition of Assessing Multilingual Learners significantly impacted the field of language education. Applying the groundbreaking assessment “as,” “for,” and “of” learning model to new contexts, this updated third edition offers educators welcoming and encouraging ways to support multilingual learners to succeed in school and beyond.

Through eight thoroughly revised chapters, Dr. Margo Gottlieb ties assessment to teaching and learning to foster agency and empowerment for multilingual learners, families, and teachers. This book envisions assessment as a process integral to and embedded in curriculum and instruction through:

  • Assets-based language
  • Student-centered activities
  • Classroom assessment tools
  • Portraits of practice illustrating authentic assessment practices
  • References and resources for stimulating discussion
  • Deep questioning for thinking through processes, dilemmas, or challenges

Assessing Multilingual Learners explores the realities and possibilities of classroom assessment as a road to inspire multilingual learners, their families, and teachers to reach great heights.

About the Author
Introduction: Shifting Assessment Mindsets
Chapter 1: Empowering Multilingual Learners and Teachers Through Assessment
Chapter 2: Issues in Assessment for Multilingual Learners
Chapter 3: Assessment as, for, and of Learning
Chapter 4: Multiliteracies, Multimodalities, and Multilingualism in Assessment
Chapter 5: Connecting Assessment to Curriculum and Instruction
Chapter 6: Dynamic Student Assessment Systems
Chapter 7: Student Evidence for Learning
Chapter 8: Assessment and Grading Practices

"Because I am a believer of process and not product, Assessing Multilingual Learners: Bridges to Empowerment speaks to me. Language learning is all about the journey. Gottlieb weaves current research on the importance of context, social-emotional learning, translanguaging, as well as teacher and student self-efficacy into these eight chapters. She gives examples of how multilingual learners of English (MLE) can thrive in the ever-evolving ecosystem of assessment. She provides opportunities for teachers to take agency when it comes to assessment and go beyond the meso- and macro- levels that may cloud MLE achievement. This is a wonderful "go-to" for those who have questions about navigating language assessment."

Sarah Sahr
TESOL International Association

"What if we assess multilingual learners by focusing on their strengths, assets, thoughts, and actions? What if we empower students and teachers and embrace the technological advances that bring a multimodal multilingual classroom to life? What if we rethink our assessment policies at the classroom, district, and state levels? Margo Gottlieb’s brilliantly written third edition provides us with the tools that we need to answer these questions and build successful assessment practices for multilingual learners."

Debbie Zacarian
Author, Transforming Schools for Multilingual Learners: A comprehensive guide for educators

"Without fail, Margo has produced another field-expanding resource. This third edition is a deep dive into designing equitable, assets-affirming assessments. She guides us in constructing bridges between the assessment expectations and what MLs can do with support from skilled, passionate educators."

Tan Huynh
Secondary English language acquisition teacher

"In this ground breaking 3rd edition, Dr. Gottlieb presents research, frameworks, tools and classroom scenarios to support stakeholders in building comprehensive, strengths-based assessment systems that center multilingual learners. The author calls us to focus on learners as agents in their educational experiences, so that school and classroom practices become culturally and linguistically sustaining where multilingual learners can show what they know in multiple languages and modalities across contexts and over time. This excellent and practical volume will appeal to practitioners, administrators and university education faculty alike."

Cristina Sánchez-López
President, Paridad Education Consulting; DePaul University, Chicago

Margo has outdone herself again! The third edition takes into consideration all the recent issues, dilemmas, and long-held misconceptions that educators experience as they attempt equitable assessment. She offers a myriad of insightful accounts and recommendations for curriculum design and assessment for multilingual learners. Her focus is on new ways of assessing multiple languages, students speaking a mix of languages, data approaches, evaluating and reporting data, and taking action on assessment results. 

Margarita Calderón, Ph.D.
Professor Emerita, Johns Hopkins University

"Always centering students with an asset based mindset, and constantly inquiring about new avenues to simplify the complex work teachers must do in an ever changing world, Margo Gottlieb’s name is itself synonymous with the history of the field o f language acquisition in the United States. In this new edition , Margo harnesses decades of experience and expertise to encourage readers to leverage the potential of assessment not only to enhance equity for multilingual learners, but as a tool for empowerment that focuses on student strengths, leverages critical relationships, and launches into classroom actions that honor and sustain students’ languages, cultures, and identities. From policy to research, theory, and practice; from planning, to collecting, interpreting, and using various levels of data; through collaborative relationship building; controversial issues; and teacher and student voice and agency – this book is an essential, compelling, and practical examination of premises, principles, and practices that not only inform but transform how we enact classroom assessment for multicultural and multilingual learners."

Fernanda Marinho Kray, Ph.D.
Researcher and WIDA ELD Standards Program Lead Developer WIDA, Wisconsin Center for Education Research, University of Wisconsin-Madison

"The need for effective language assessment tools and practices has never been more critical. Margo Gottlieb’s Assessing multilingual learners: Bridges to empowerment (3rd edition) shifts from the equity-focused guidance of the prior edition to emphasis on action, designed to empower educators in their instructional decisions. Throughout the edition, Gottlieb’s holistic view of assessment practices takes into consideration the multiple dimensions of language proficiency while acknowledging the sociocultural factors that contribute to language development, along with the assets that multilingual learners bring to their educational experience. This comprehensive guide encompasses a range of assessment practices, complete with practical examples that incorporate authentic voices of multilingual learners and their teachers. 

Educators, researchers, and assessment developers alike can benefit from the case studies, vignettes, and discussion points presented in each chapter to engage deeply in their learning communities to reflect on how we consider and implement assessment practices. Through centering student strengths and identity, fostering teacher agency, and leveraging assessment data that integrates bilingualism and multiculturalism from the start, this must-read guide is the perfect combination of theory and practice for assessing multilingual learners and supporting their language development. "

Teresa Cabal Krastel, PhD
Spanish Solution Lead at NWEA

"This book advances equity in assessment to the next level: a level in which teachers and their multilingual students are in the driver's seat of teaching and learning. In Assessing multilingual learners: Bridges to empowerment (3rd ed.), the student's identity is an intrinsic component of assessment practices and instruction. Throughout the book, Gottlieb provides readers with guiding principles and practical examples on how to access students’ linguistic and cultural assets, draw on multilinguals' funds of knowledge, and create an environment in which teachers and students have voice and agency. 

A must-read guide for teachers of any content area, student teachers, and anyone in the education field who is committed to optimizing education outcomes for multilingual leaners. "

Cecilia Gazza Sena
Spanish Solution Specialist at NWEA

"Once again, in “Assessing Multilingual Learners: Bridges to Empowerment,” Margo Gottlieb offers educators a comprehensive guide for transforming their assessment practices for multilingual learners. This third edition is a testament to Margo’s ongoing commitment to nurturing multilingual learners’ linguistic and cultural identities through linguistically and culturally sustaining assessment practices.

One of the book’s strengths is its practicality. By exploring the crucial distinction between equity and empowerment in assessment practices, Margo highlights the need to accentuate learning as part of student identity formation and as a goal for assessment. Margo helps educators navigate the complexities of assessment as, for, and of learning to promote a comprehensive understanding of multilingual learners' growth and development. The third edition offers concrete strategies and tools that integrate student and teacher voices and build meaningful partnerships within classrooms, schools, homes, and communities. Each chapter is filled with thought-provoking discussions, case studies, and engaging activities. Using educator-friendly prose, Margo helps educators navigate the complexities of assessment for multilingual learners.

I wholeheartedly endorse "Assessing Multilingual Learners: Bridges to Empowerment" as an essential resource for educators, administrators, policymakers, and anyone committed to ensuring equitable and empowering assessment practices for multilingual learners. Margo Gottlieb’s expertise shines through as she presents a compelling argument for transforming assessment practices to empower multilingual learners and promote the success and well-being of all students."

Lynn Shafer Willner, Ph.D.
Language Standards and Accessibility Researcher, WIDA at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

"Words like "empowerment" and "equity"... even "assessment" carry with them the beliefs and attitudes of those who use them. It takes a thought header, like Margo Gottlieb, to help us understand and find the meanings of these terms. She does this by anchoring us in the current theories and practices that make assessment more.... equitable. That is the goal of this third edition. Join Margo in her decades-long work to build a framework that systematically enacts assessment as, by, and for learning. Because when it comes to the assessment of multilingual learners, the stakes couldn't be higher."

Dr. Lillian Ardell
Speaker, Monolingual Disruptor and Founder of Language Matters, LLC

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