Alternative forms of assessment are needed for English Language Learners (ELL) because they’re not able to fully express themselves in their new language.

Alternative forms of assessment are criterion-free as they’re based on actual classroom work and performance. And ELL might be able to understand the classroom work, but not have the ability to express that understanding.

An alternative to typical classroom tests used for assessment are portfolios.


      • record the ELL’s work over a period of time.
      • can contain a variety of documents: writing samples, math problems, social studies reports, science reports, art and poetry, etc.
      • can show the ELL’s personality and reasoning powers.
      • can show the ELL’s language acquisition.

Self-assessment can also be included, which might provide insights into the ELL’s educational needs.