Book ReviewsVol. 16, No. 2 (2016)

Assessing English Language Learners: Bridges to Educational Equity: Connecting Academic Language Proficiency to Student Achievement

Nabat Erdogan

University of Missouri - Kansas City

Abstract

Assessing English Language Learners: Bridges to Educational Equity: Connecting Academic Language Proficiency to Student Achievement is a comprehensive resource that intends to build bridges that promote educational equity, particularly in the areas of instruction and assessment. The book consists of two parts each of which includes four chapters. Part I, entitled “Assessment as a Context for Teaching and Learning: Bridges to Equity,” focuses on the issues of equity concerning the assessment of language learners, more specifically, English Language Learners (ELLs). In the introduction to Part I, Gottlieb provides her rationale for focusing on assessment equity for ELLs, where she mentions the increasing numbers of linguistically and culturally diverse students in U.S. schools, the different life and educational experiences of ELLs, some of whom are refugees and immigrants, the importance of promoting equal educational opportunities for all students as well as these groups of students, and so on. Gottlieb provides some facts showing the changing demographics in U.S. public schools. According to Gottlieb, while language learners is an umbrella term descriptive of all students in pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade, there are also many other terms that can be associated with this population of learners, such as linguistically and culturally diverse students, heritage language learners, English language learners, dual language learners, emergent bilinguals, long-term English language learners, etc. The author lists educators and their primary instructional and assessment responsibilities for the education of language learners, which can serve as a useful guide in determining the varied expectations from different educators in regard to their contribution to comprehensive services for ELLs. Gottlieb describes linguistically and culturally responsive classrooms and schools, and asserts that establishing a responsive learning environment is the only way to optimize learning opportunities and to effectively and equally serve the increasingly heterogeneous U.S. public school student population.