A Case Study of Formative Reading Assessment to Support Teaching of EL Reading Comprehension

Jane Robin Shore, Mikyung-Kim Wolf, Margaret Heritage


Though much attention has been paid to the unique educational needs of English learners (ELs), there is still a substantial achievement gap in reading, especially in the middle grades and beyond.  Research has identified the features and benefits of formative assessment to improve student learning, especially reading; yet little empirical research is available on the practice of formative assessment for ELs.  This study examined how middle school teachers utilized the English Language Formative Assessment (ELFA) system, a reading assessment system designed for formative purposes, with their intermediate level ELs.  Using a collective case study approach, we present a small-scale usability study on formative assessment as a part of a larger project focused on the research and development of the ELFA system.  Our findings indicate the importance of a system designed to facilitate the use of assessment for formative purposes and highlight the teacher learning that took place with regard to EL reading comprehension and formative assessment.


English learners; formative assessment; professional development; reading comprehension

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