SEDL’s Texas Comprehensive Center Working with TEA to Better Meet the Needs of English Language Learners

September 29, 2008
Austin, Texas

Laura Shankland
Communications Associate
Phone: 512-391-6556

SEDL’s Texas Comprehensive Center was recently awarded $306,113 by the U. S. Department of Education to assist the Texas Education Agency (TEA) in meeting the needs of English language learners.

The TEA has distributed manuals to school districts that explain accommodations allowed on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) and provided guidance regarding student eligibility.  But the agency sees a need for more professional development around decision making related to the assessments and accommodations. TEA wants to ensure that students receive the same accommodations during instruction that they receive on the assessment.

As part of its work, the Texas Comprehensive Center (Texas CC) will conduct six focus groups across the state to discuss how decisions regarding assessments and accommodations are currently being made in districts and classrooms across the state.  The focus groups will include teachers, principals, bilingual/ESL supervisors, and assessment coordinators from urban and rural areas.

Texas CC director Vicki Dimock explains, “By learning more about how administrators, teachers, and other educators in the state are making decisions about accommodations on assessments and instruction, more targeted guidance and training for local education agencies may be provided.”

Based on the information collected during the focus groups, the Texas CC and the national Center on Instruction will convene a summit on assessments and accommodations for English language learners. Session presentations of current research will be provided but participants will also break into discussion groups to identify barriers to consistent implementation of the state guidance and potential means for overcoming those barriers. These sessions will be the basis for development of an online professional development module the TEA wants for educators around the state.

Finally, as part of the newly funded work, the Texas CC will assist TEA in developing a plan for continued support for systematic decision-making and implementation of appropriate accommodations for English language learners across the state.

About the Texas CC
SEDL’s Texas Comprehensive Center provides technical assistance and support to the Texas Education Agency to assure Texas has an education system with the capacity and commitment to eliminate achievement gaps and enable all students to achieve at high levels.

About SEDL

SEDL (formerly Southwest Educational Development Laboratory) is a nonprofit corporation based in Austin, Texas. SEDL is dedicated to solving significant education problems and improving teaching and learning through research, research-based resources, and professional development. For more information about SEDL, visit