TESOL Topics: ETS Presentation

by: Frank Corva

The TESOL and Applied Linguistics Programs would like to extend a warm thanks to
Dr. Philip Everson and Emilie Pooler from Educational Testing Service (ETS) for their
innovative presentation on computer-based testing at TC this past Thursday, April 11th.
At the presentation, Dr. Everson and Ms. Pooler shared with TC students and faculty
the groundbreaking new programs that they are developing in order to screen and place
English Language Learners (ELLs) in U.S. public schools.

These programs are currently in the prototyping stage and feature an interactive interface
that boldly take screening tests beyond the standard pencil and paper format that
teacher and students have been accustomed to for years. The innovative parts of these
assessments related to how they incorporated into the design student agency, where
examinees are able to choose the topics they want to be tested on, and student assistance
in cases where examinees who do not have the basic linguistic skills to perform the task
are taught what the need before returning to the test.

What was engaging about the nature of the presentation was that feedback was
encouraged from the audience. Both faculty and students excitedly offered praise and
constructive critique of the programs and the challenges and benefits that come along
with using this type of interface. This feedback was warmly received and appreciated by
the presenters.

It will still be some time before these programs are utilized in schools, but judging by
the positive results that ETS has reported having with testing these prototypes on young
learners, these programs will revolutionize the screening process for ELLs in U.S. public

schools. We very much look forward to staying in touch with ETS as they continue to develop these programs and can’t wait to have them back at TC!