New study provides evidence that assessing multilingual students in their home languages can improve educational outcomes

Due to the changing demographics in the United States public school population, bilingual literacy assessments are essential for accurately evaluating multilingual students’ reading abilities

BROOKLYN, NY (June 27, 2024) – Amplify, a publisher of next-generation curriculum and assessment programs, today released a first-of-its-kind research brief that demonstrates the benefits of dual-language assessment in early literacy. The brief summarized a new study of 21,000 K–3 Spanish-speaking multilingual learners (MLs) who have Spanish literacy data from mCLASS® Lectura assessments and English literacy data from mCLASS DIBELS® 8th Edition assessments from the beginning, middle, and end of the 2023-2024 school year.

Findings reveal that using only English-language assessments for early literacy can lead to a higher rate of misidentifying Spanish-speaking MLs as at-risk for reading difficulties, underscoring the importance of comprehensive dual-language assessments that help educators better understand their students’ early literacy skills.

Currently, the industry relies on English-only approaches to assessment that not only underestimate a multilingual student’s reading comprehension ability, but may also give educators incomplete information to guide instructional planning for multilingual students.

“For too long, the industry has relied on an early literacy assessment standard for MLs that is, in many ways, flawed,” said Susan Lambert, chief academic officer of Elementary Humanities at Amplify. “It’s time to begin assessing MLs in English and their home language to understand their early literacy needs better and ultimately improve their educational outcomes.”

A dual-language approach for early literacy assessment has powerful implications, including:

  • Providing more accurate information about whether students need intervention
  • Giving educators a more complete understanding of students’ literacy skills, including which skills they possess in each language
  • Helping educators support students’ language development needs with more precision

“Although the availability of universal screening assessments for Spanish-speaking MLs has increased in recent years, it’s still not where it needs to be,” said Kajal Patel Below, vice president of biliteracy at Amplify. “Our hope is that this study will shed light on the extent to which the identification of reading intervention support varies for MLs when assessed in both their home language and in English.”

About Amplify

A pioneer in K–12 education since 2000, Amplify is leading the way in next-generation curriculum and assessment. Our core and supplemental programs in ELA, math and science engage all students in rigorous learning and inspire them to think deeply, creatively and for themselves. Our formative assessment products help teachers identify the targeted instruction students need to build a strong foundation in early reading and math. All of our programs and services provide educators with powerful tools that help them understand and respond to the needs of every student. Today, Amplify serves more than 15 million students in all 50 states and on six continents. For more information, visit Amplify.com.

Media Contact: Kristine Frech; media@amplify.com

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