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Feb. 13–Student profile Part A:

Select a student from your classroom or clinical site as the central focus of your study and Language Case Study Project. In no more than 5 pages, describe the student’s home and target language strengths and needs as you may address them in in the Language Case Study Project. Your description should provide a holistic picture of the student and may include quantitative and qualitative idea. Some ideas may include:

· Grades

· Language inventories

· Test Scores

· Interest inventories

· Formative assessment data

· Reading levels

· Summative assessment data

· Writing levels/ scores

· Standardized testing data

· Non-academic data

This section of the task should not exceed 3 pages.

Feb. 27–Student profile Part B:

Using the same student, adopt a translanguaging lens to evaluate the data you included in Part A and re-evaluate the needs and strengths of the student. Be sure pull from readings from our class to justify your new claims as you jointly evaluate your student bi/multilingual data.

This section of the task should not exceed 3 pages.


Name: Melissa Genao OSSIS: 225356146

Date of Birth: 01/16/2007 Age: 15

Parent: Rosa Martinez Telephone: (646) 250-4985

Address: 350 Gerard Ave. Apt 2N. County: Bronx

Bronx, NY 10451

Interviewer: Wanda Pena, MSW Date Of Report: 02/14/2022


This report is part of a comprehensive re-evaluation for additional Special Education Services requested by the parent due to concerns with the student’s academic performance. Upon her mother’s referral, Melissa was referred to the School Based Support Team to determine whether she would qualify for additional support. According to Ms. Martinez, her daughter requires support with all subjects in school. She reportedly has difficulty completing her classwork and homework. Ms. Yudith Martinez, Melissa’s parent, conducted the interview in Spanish. The home language is listed as Spanish in ATS, and she reported feeling comfortable continuing in Spanish.

Melissa is a 15.0-year-old verbal, ambulatory, petite girl of Hispanic descendent with long dark brown eyes and dark brown hair. She was dressed neatly and appropriate. In addition, present at this evaluation was Melissa’s mother, Yudith Martinez. Due to COVID-19 pandemic, this evaluation was conducted via teleconferencing. Melissa presented with a cooperative, and pleasant demeanor. She willingly answered the questions posed to her by this clinician. Melissa’s mother provided the majority of the information obtained for this evaluation. Melissa presented with good receptive and expressive language skills. Melissa’s mother provided the majority of the information obtained for this evaluation. Melissa presented with good receptive and expressive language skills.

Melissa resides in a two-bedroom apartment located in the South Bronx. She has been living there for almost 12 years. Her mother considers the neighborhood to be fairly safe. Melissa has her own bedroom. Also residing there is Melissa’s mother, Yudith Martinez (42). Melissa’s mother is a social worker for a transitional foster care agency. She is pre-diabetic and was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. Melissa has a close relationship with her mother.

Melissa is currently enrolled at DW School and Institute. She has been enrolled at this school for about 7 years. She is in a 12:1:1 special education program. According to her IEP dated 10/12/21, she is classified as having “Other Health impairment” She receives speech therapy (individual and group), occupational therapy (individual and group) and counseling (individual and group). She receives hearing education services and has the use of an FM Unit at school. She also use her hearing aids at home.

Melissa’s school has a proficient level scale to provide students grades. The scale is defined as follows: 0 – Did Not Demonstrate Skill. 1 – Is developing the behavior or skill, 2 – Demonstrates the behavior or skill inconsistently, 3 – Demonstrates the behavior or skill most of the time, 4 – Demonstrates the behavior or skill consistently. 5 – Demonstrated Skill Independently. In addition, Scale: A=Always, U=Usually, S=Sometimes, N=Needs Improvement. These scales are used for all subjects. Melissa’s grades levels are as follows; Counseling (2), Speech, Language and Occupational Therapy (2), English Language Arts (3), Explorations in Mathematics (3), American History (3), Explorations in Sciences (3-4), Technology (4), Gym (4-5), Adaptive skills (5), Movement (A),

During the semester multiple classroom observations was conducted to monitor Melissa’s learning and to provide feedback. It was observed that Melissa works well during class following a checklist of to do things to complete the class. Melissa brings creativity and personal connections into the classroom. She is sometimes willing to participate and engages in class discussion and work though at times she can be seen falling asleep. She works collaboratively with her peers and participates in small group activities. She is able to complete her assignments with little to some support.

Melissa loves spending time with her maternal extended family members. She likes to design dresses. She loves any activities related to arts and crafts. She loves to play with slime. One of Melissa’s strengths is that she is friendly and is very social. She is cooperative. She loves to help others, especially younger children.

Melissa is well behaved at home and at school. However, she is immature for her age. She becomes frustrated when she is not able to keep up with her typically developing peers. She responds by crying. At times, she is resistant to wearing her hearing aids because she does not want to look different from her peers. Melissa is verbal. However, her pronunciation is sometimes unclear due to her hearing impairment. Melissa is friendly and enjoys socializing. Due to her immaturity, she tends to prefer socializing with younger children.

Melissa has some issues concerning hand strength and balance. This is due to the side effects from a brain surgery she underwent in July 2011. Melissa has good sleeping habits. Her bedtime is 10:00 PM on school nights and she wakes up at 6:00 AM on school mornings. She sleeps through the night.

Melissa is a very picky eater and tends to prefer unhealthy foods. She eats three meals per day and snacks in between meals. Her favorite foods are McDonalds, and pizza. Melissa can become itchy if she eats food containing red 45 dye. If she eats, an excessive amount of red 45 dye can trigger an eczema outbreak. However, this has not occurred in over 10 years.

Melissa’s mother reported that her pregnancy was uneventful for the majority of time. However, she developed preeclampsia during the delivery. Melissa was delivered via natural childbirth, during the 38th week of gestation, at New York Presbyterian Hospital, Allen Pavilion. She weighed 7.2 pounds. Melissa began crawling when she was 4 months old, sat up on her own when she was 6 months old. Melissa began talkitve when she was about 6 months old. She began walking when she was 13 months old. She was fully toilet trained when she was about 3 ½ years old. Melissa was first evaluated when she was 26 months old and was diagnosed with developmental delays. She received early intervention services until she was 3 years old. After this, she stayed home under the supervision of her maternal grandmother and did not attend daycare and/or preschool. When Melissa was 4.5 years old, she was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. More details will be provided in the Medical section of this evaluation. Melissa attended the Immaculate Conception School in the Bronx for kindergarten. She received speech therapy, occupational therapy and SETSS. She remained at this school until she was completed the second grade (which she repeated, due to academic difficulties). She has been attending her present school since the third grade. Melissa was diagnosed with mild high frequency damage of both ears (because of chemotherapy) when she was almost 5 years old.

Both of Melissa’s parents are of Hispanic descent. Melissa’s mother was born in the United States but grew up in the Dominican Republic. Melissa’s father, Barbino Genao (42), was born in the Dominican Republic. He resides in Massachusetts. He maintains a positive relationship with Melissa, although they do not have see each other often. Melissa has a 19-year­ old sister by her father. She lives in Massachusetts and has occasional contact with Melissa.

Melissa’s maternal grandmother resides in the Bronx and is very involved with Melissa’s care. Melissa’s maternal grandfather resides in the Dominican Republic. Melissa’s paternal grandmother resides in Massachusetts. Melissa’s paternal grandfather is deceased. There is a history of high blood pressure and diabetes on the maternal side of Melissa’s family. One of Melissa’s paternal great aunts was diagnosed with some type of developmental disability. There is no reported history of drug or alcohol abuse on either side of Melissa’s family.

Melissa is dependent on her mother to meet her needs. Melissa’s mother receives a lot of support from her extended family and friends. She does not receive any funded services or government benefits. Melissa’s mother would like her to receive care management and community habilitation services. She would like Melissa to attend extracurricular activities.

Melissa receives primary care pediatric services from Dr. Jose Perez at Broadway Pediatrics. She receives the following services from Morgan Stanley Children’ s Hospital of New York Presbyterian: Dr. James Garvin (oncology), Dr. Neil Feldstein (pediatric neurosurgeon), Dr. Tristan Sands (neurology), Dr. Murthy Gopalakrishnamoorthy (endocrinology), Dr. Joseph Picoraro (gastroenterology), Dr. Irena Distasi (audiology) and Dr. Danielle Sacks (orthodontist). She receives ophthalmology services from Dr. Compton. As previously reported, Melissa was diagnosed with a mild high frequency hearing damage in both ears. She wears a hearing aide. However, sometimes she is reluctant to use them. She does not need glasses. Melissa was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor when she was 4.5 years old. She underwent surgery to remove the tumor. She then received 5 rounds of chemotherapy (3 of them with stem cell transplant). She also received 30 rounds of radiation. This occurred between July 2011 and February 2012. In November of 2012, Melissa had a seizure at school. She was diagnosed with epilepsy and was prescribed anti-seizure medication for 5-6 years. The medication was discontinued about 4 years ago. Melissa underwent a craniotomy in April 2021 due to side effects of the radiation that she underwent in 2011, that caused cavernous malformation of vein vessels. The following day, she had surgery to insert a shunt to relieve brain pressure. The shunt was removed about 3-4 days later. Melissa received growth hormone therapy from November 2014 until April of 2021. It was discontinued due to ineffectiveness. During a follow up appointment with her endocrinologist, the growth hormone therapy was resume. Melissa also is prescribed with an estrogen patch to help mature her reproductive system, that became affected after chemotherapy. In addition, Melissa is prescribed wit an appetite stimulant and PediaSure to complete for her growth. Melissa undergoes an MRI every six months. A psychiatrist has never treated Melissa. She has never been prescribed psychotropic medication.

Melissa is verbal and ambulatory. Sometimes, she requires verbal prompting about bathing and brushing her teeth, appropriate clothing. She is independent concerning dressing herself. Melissa is able to tell time with a digital clock. She is not able to tell time with an analog clock. She reads on an early elementary school level. Melissa is dependent about traveling via bus or subway. She understands the function of money. She requires verbal prompting to check for the correct change. Melissa rarely uses the stove and requires supervision when she does so. She can make Ramen Noodles. She is independent with regards to using the microwave oven. She is independent with regards to making a simple snack or a sandwich. Melissa requires verbal prompting with regards to making her bed. She is dependent with regards to washing dishes, cleaning her room and doing her laundry.



Language Arts, Volume 95, Number 6, July 2018

Laura Ascenzi-Moreno

Translanguaging and Responsive
Assessment Adaptations:

Emergent Bilingual Readers
through the Lens of Possibility

This study examines how teachers adapt formative
reading assessments for emergent bilinguals by

making space for their students’ multilingual
language practices.

On a crisp October morning, Ella (all names
are pseudonyms), an English as a New Language
teacher (ENL) sits with Santiago, one of her fifth-
grade students, and listens to him read. She notes
information about his reading behaviors, miscues,
and comprehension. Like other teachers across the
country, Ella uses formative reading assessments
to gain insight into her students’ reading processes.
For all teachers, piecing together information from
these assessments to make sense of and support a
child’s reading development is a complex task. Yet,
for teachers who work with emergent bilinguals,
understanding how their rich language resources
play into their reading development adds another
layer of challenge that warrants educators’ critical

While Ella assesses Santiago in English, she
provides carefully thought- out opportunities for
him to use his home language resources, such as
encouraging him to explain his miscues in Span-
ish. During the assessment, she documents ways
in which the breadth of his language skills may
impact his reading. By making space for students’
home language practices within assessment, Ella,
along with the other teachers in this article, engage
in an important departure from the widespread

monolingual practices that mark how formative
reading assessments are currently administered and
analyzed (Ascenzi- Moreno, 2016; García, John-
son, & Seltzer, 2017). These teachers’ practices
demonstrate an increased awareness of the crucial
role that emergent bilinguals’ home languages play
in their literacy development (Souto- Manning,
2016). Namely, these teachers have adjusted the
reading assessment process to include opportu-
nities for translanguaging, allowing students to
draw upon the full span of their language and social
resources to make meaning of their literacy experi-
ences (García & Wei, 2014).

Emergent bilinguals have the gift of speaking
two or more languages (García, Kleifgen, & Fal-
chi, 2008). Being bilingual offers a variety of bene-
fits, such as the capacity to interact with a range of
people, the ability to connect to different cultures
through language, as well as an understanding and
appreciation of how different languages are struc-
tured and relate to each other (Bialystok, 2007;
Proctor, August, Snow, & Barr, 2010). Bilingual-
ism is an integral part of students’ identities and
should be respected and valued in the classroom
(Souto- Manning, 2016; Zapata & Laman, 2016).
When I refer to emergent bilingual readers, the

Translanguaging and Responsive
Assessment Adaptations

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Copyright © 2018 by the National Council of Teachers of English. All rights reserved.



Language Arts, Volume 95, Number 6, July 2018

Laura Ascenzi-Moreno | TraNSlaNguagiNg aNd rESPONSivE aSSESSmENT adaPTaTiONS

that incorporate adaptations to align with emergent
bilinguals’ needs.

The Intersection of
Translanguaging, Formative
Reading Assessments,
and Accommodations
To set the stage for this study, I place three distinct
fields of education research alongside each other:
translanguaging and reading, formative reading
assessments, and accommodations.

Translanguaging and Reading

The concept of translanguaging has highlighted
the essential role that emergent bilinguals’ lin-
guistic and social resources have in their learn-
ing and meaning- making in classrooms (García
& Kleyn, 2016). A translanguaging lens provides
teachers with a novel way to understand students’
language practices as dynamic and as socially
constructed (Palmer & Martínez, 2016). Translan-
guaging is defined as “the deployment of a speak-
er’s full linguistic repertoire without regard for
watchful adherence to the socially and politically
(and usually national and state) defined boundaries
of named languages” (Otheguy, García, & Reid,
2015, p. 283). In other words, as emergent bilin-
guals read, write, learn, and communicate, they
draw on diverse linguistic features and resources
from a singular linguistic repertoire. For exam-
ple, an emergent bilingual may listen to a teacher
read a book aloud, but engage in a turn- and- talk
about that text in Spanish. Or she may write a piece
mostly in English, but include dialogue from her
mom’s voice in her home language. These exam-
ples demonstrate that when emergent bilinguals
access their entire pool of resources and are not
limited to using language features from socially
constructed language categories such as “English”
or “Spanish,” they fluidly and creatively participate
in learning.

It is important to note that translanguaging is
a different way of viewing and interpreting bilin-
gual language performances than another preva-
lent theory, code- switching. The concept of code-
switching is based on the premise that emergent

word, “emergent” in the label does not allude to
a specific stage of reading development, but high-
lights that students are in the continual process of
learning language (García et al., 2008). Thus, the
flexible, evolving, and diverse nature of students’
language practices is stressed over static conceptu-
alizations of students’ language abilities and skills
(Brooks, 2017).

The shifts in teachers’ assessment strategies
described in this article, which I refer to as respon-
sive adaptations, take into account students’ lan-
guage practices while they read and talk about what
they have read. These adaptations aid teachers in
constructing an accurate portrait of students’ abili-
ties by viewing their language repertoire as a source
of strength rather than one of deficit. In this article,
I show through a translanguaging lens how teachers
have reimagined the formative assessment process
and, as a result, have brought into focus a multifac-
eted perspective on emergent bilinguals’ journeys
as readers.

First, I present an overview of translanguag-
ing and its intersection with accommodations and
reading assessment research. Next, I introduce the
teachers in the study and their school contexts. I
then describe the types of responsive adaptations
that teachers implemented and highlight how these
provide an important message to students about
the value of their home language as they learn to
read English even as they simultaneously offer
teachers a better means to understand and support
their students as readers. Finally, I outline impli-
cations to support teachers as they seek out ways
to infuse the formative reading assessment pro-
cess with opportunities for translanguaging. It is
my hope that this article assists teachers across a
variety of programs (English as a New Language,
Dual Language Bilingual, English mainstream) to
envision equitable reading assessment practices

Bilingualism is an integral part of students’
identities and should be respected and valued in

the classroom.

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Laura Ascenzi-Moreno | TraNSlaNguagiNg aNd rESPONSivE aSSESSmENT adaPTaTiONS

across languages. Thus, when reading is viewed as
a unified process, teachers can support emergent
bilinguals’ reading development by acknowledging
and encouraging them to use their entire linguistic
repertoire as they read. Therefore, a translanguag-
ing lens on reading as a unified process has rami-
fications for how we assess the emergent bilingual
readers in our classroom.

Formative Reading Assessments

In this article, I focus on both informal reading
inventories (IRIs) and running records and refer
to them as formative reading assessments. Both of
these assessments aim to capture students’ contex-
tual reading behaviors and habits. It is well known
that the documentation and observation of students’
efforts and responses during reading offers teach-
ers essential information to shape instruction (Clay,
2000; Fountas & Pinnell, 2000). These assessments
are generally considered powerful, particularly for
emergent bilinguals, because through observation
and documentation, teachers can capture the lan-
guage students use (Gandy, 2013).

Yet, the formative reading assessment process
has most often been a monolingual endeavor across
different programs types (ENL, Dual Language
Bilingual, English mainstream) (Sánchez et  al.,
2013; Shohamy, 2011). Even within Dual Lan-
guage Bilingual (DLB) programs, where students
are instructed in two languages, teachers adhere to
administering and analyzing their emergent bilin-
gual readers in English and Spanish, without under-
standing how students fluidly use features from both
to read (Ascenzi- Moreno, 2016). The belief that the
fastest pathway to language acquisition is through
English- only methods (Menken & Solorza, 2015)
seeps into the assessment process. Teachers express
that to be “faithful” to the assessment, they feel
obliged to conduct them monolingually. However,
when teachers limit emergent bilinguals’ reading
performance to one language, they are not able to
detect and respond to the full span of their students’
reading abilities, leading to a partial and inaccurate
assessment of students. In this study, I focus on
the reading passage portions of formative reading
assessments, which include various components

bilinguals “switch” between languages that exist
independently from each other (García et al.,
2017). In contrast, translanguaging emphasizes
that from the emergent bilinguals’ internal per-
spective, they are flexibly selecting features from
their own unique and singular linguistic repertoire.
There are multiple dimensions of translanguaging
pedagogy for students; when emergent bilinguals
use their varied features from their linguistic rep-
ertoire, they are able to access and participate in
learning events. Likewise, opening up opportu-
nities for translanguaging in the classroom sends
an important message to emergent bilinguals that
their multilingual practices and their experiences
are essential to their development as meaning
makers (Zapata & Laman, 2016).

Through a translanguaging lens, reading has
been reenvisioned as a “unified process” (Kabuto,
2017). As a unified process, students draw upon
their entire linguistic repertoire as they learn to read
rather than solely calling forth resources in one
language (Ascenzi- Moreno, 2016; Kabuto, 2017).
In describing reading as a unified process, Kabuto
(2017) writes, “Regardless of syntactic and seman-
tic features and graphic forms that make up writ-
ten language systems, bilingual readers draw upon
a range of linguistic features within a language or
across languages to demonstrate their understand-
ings of written text” (p. 28). In other words, from
a translanguaging perspective, reading “transcends
language borders” (Kabuto, 2017, p. 39) as students
make meaning of written texts through the use of
the full span of their language and social resources.

For instance, while a student reads Spanish,
she may think about the characters in English and
then compare her thoughts about this text to an
experience she had in Spanish with her family. In
this example, the student participates in the reading
process by accessing memories, skills, and abilities
using her entire linguistic and social repertoire. If
the teacher only allowed the student to think and
participate in reading in one language, such as
English, then her ability to comprehend the text,
connect to it, and express her understanding would
be curtailed. Ideas, strategies, and skills that help
students comprehend text can be used dynamically

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for students’ language practices within assessments
does not exist (González, 2012).

One way the issue of proper assessment of
emergent bilinguals has been addressed is through
studies on accommodations. Accommodations for
emergent bilinguals should be designed to lessen
the linguistic demand of the assessment (Abedi,
2009). Extended time, translations, and bilingual
dictionaries are some of the most common accom-
modations for emergent bilinguals, despite the lack
of evidence that they lessen the linguistic demands
of an assessment (Abedi, Hofstetter, & Lord, 2004).
For accommodations to be effective, Abedi (2009)
maintains that they need to target students’ unique
linguistic profiles. For instance, a student may be
offered extra time on a test, but this accommoda-
tion will not decrease the difficulty the student may
have in comprehending the language of the test
questions. Acosta, Rivera, and Willner (2008) also
report that test accommodations are often too gener-
alized to provide the required support students need
to accurately manifest their skills. The static and
generic nature of accommodations reduces their
effectiveness. Accommodations research, therefore,
provides an incomplete response to the question of
how to ensure that assessments truly measure emer-
gent bilinguals’ skills and knowledge and not sim-
ply their language competencies.

Assessment practices that are flexible, mallea-
ble, and specifically designed with an eye toward
language of the individual hold the potential

(see Table 1 for the components and general format
of reading assessments).

Despite the fact that teachers most often admin-
ister these assessments monolingually, without
making adjustments for emergent bilinguals, the
research body on accommodations has addressed
ways to make assessment practices for emergent
bilinguals more accurate and equitable.


Even if emergent bilinguals are expected to perform
monolingually, they bring their linguistic repertoire
comprised of features from multiple languages
to assessment contexts (Bedore, Pena, García, &
Cortez, 2005). In the following case, an emergent
bilingual counts from one to ten: “one, two, three,
cuatro, cinco, seis, etc.” Through his language
practices, he demonstrates that he knows how to
sequence numbers, yet draws from features of
English and Spanish to do so. Bedore et al. (2005)
caution that within the context of assessment, “sin-
gle language measures ignore the fact that bilingual
children may choose to use different words depend-
ing on the setting, interlocutor, and context” (p.
190). There is agreement among scholars that when
emergent bilinguals are required to answer in only
one language during an assessment, they are placed
at a disadvantage because they use only a portion of
their language abilities (Sánchez et al., 2013; Sho-
hamy, 2011). Teachers may not obtain a true “read-
ing” of their emergent bilinguals’ abilities if a space

Table 1. Components of formative reading assessments, general format, and responsive adaptations

Component General Format: What Is Done? Responsive Adaptations

Introduction to text Teachers provide an introduction to the
text monolingually.

Teachers can make culturally relevant
connections, using English and the home
language, to the text.

Teachers ask the students about their prior
knowledge monolingually.

Teachers can elicit prior knowledge through
English and the home language, or both.

Listening to and documenting
student reading

Teachers listen to and document
student reading for miscues and fluency

Teachers create columns for language and
pronunciation in addition to traditional

Retell Teachers ask students to retell the text

Teachers invite students to retell the text in
English and the home language, or both.

Feedback Teachers relate to students their
impressions of their reading and pinpoint
their reading level.

Teachers provide feedback to target both
students’ reading abilities across languages
and emerging language features.

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Laura Ascenzi-Moreno | TraNSlaNguagiNg aNd rESPONSivE aSSESSmENT adaPTaTiONS

Ella’s school participated in two years of profes-
sional development on translanguaging pedagogy,
which I provided. Ella was a teacher- leader during
this initiative, sitting on a schoolwide committee
of teachers that consulted on the focus of profes-
sional development. Ella is in her 15th year of
teaching ENL. Her day is divided into co- teaching
with general classroom teachers and “pull- out”
instruction with emergent bilinguals. Ella knows
some Spanish and uses it intentionally with her

Anaïs is a second- grade teacher and Fabienne
is a fifth– grade teacher in the French- English DLB
program at the Channel School, which is in an
urban community. Anaïs has been a teacher at the
school for 8 years and Fabienne is in her second
year of teaching. Both are French- English speak-
ers who learned French as their new language. The
French- English DLB program is a small one, with
two classes per grade level. Its goals are to sup-
port students to be bilingual, biliterate, and bicul-
tural through the teaching of two languages. It is
a highly desired program and has attracted French
expatriates to this neighborhood. Both teachers self-
selected to be part of the research. Although these
teachers were not part of sustained professional
development on translanguaging, they were familiar
with the concept.

I used a case study approach to focus on teach-
ers’ responsive adaptations of formative assess-
ments over the course of one academic year. Admin-
istrators at both schools requested that teachers
implement formative, periodic reading assessments
with their students. Ella used the Developmental
Reading Assessment (DRA) and also conducted
running records using ENL- designated guided
reading books, while the teachers at the Channel
School used the Teachers College Reading and

for accurately assessing emergent bilinguals. A
translanguaging lens on assessment can provide
further assistance in directing teachers on how to
adapt formative assessments for accuracy. Accord-
ing to García et al. (2017), assessments of emergent
bilinguals should be designed to capture students’
general linguistic and language- specific abilities;
that is, teachers can note if students are “using all
the features of his or her language repertoire and/or
using language- specific features” (p. 86).

Responsive adaptations to formative reading
assessments make room for students’ language
practices through opportunities for translanguag-
ing (see Table 1 for examples of responsive adapta-
tions). These adaptations need not be thought of as
a new set of procedures, but rather as flexible ways
of responding to students. Through these adapta-
tions, the relationship that teachers have with their
students via the assessment is paramount; teachers
can respond and be attuned to what they learn about
the child’s reading, including the language fea-
tures they draw upon while they read and respond
to text. In this study, the assessment practices of
three teachers who work with emergent bilinguals
are explored and provide a means to understand
how translanguaging within the formative reading
assessment process leads to both a more accurate
picture of students’ reading abilities and a deeper
understanding of the journey of an emergent bilin-
gual reader.

Context and Methods
This research took place with three teachers at two
public elementary schools. Ella works at the Wil-
low School, which is located in a suburb of a large
city. A banner with the school’s motto: “Dream
and Believe, Learn and Achieve” in four languages
(English, Spanish, Chinese, and Italian) hangs at
the entrance. The school has undergone a demo-
graphic change in the past 10 years. From primar-
ily having English- speaking students, the school
now has a sizable population of Spanish- speaking
students across all grade levels. The majority of
students in the early childhood grades (K– 2) are
now emergent bilinguals hailing from Central and
South America. Because of this demographic shift,

responsive adaptations to formative reading
assessments make room for students’

language practices through opportunities
for translanguaging.

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Laura Ascenzi-Moreno | TraNSlaNguagiNg aNd rESPONSivE aSSESSmENT adaPTaTiONS

Assessing Emergent
Bilingual Readers: Striving
for Accuracy and Equity
Essential to teachers’ implementation of responsive
adaptations was their view that emergent bilinguals
are capable and full of resources. In her reflective
memo, Ella writes, “I believe we can assess students
from a strengths- based perspective, valuing their
emerging bilingualism, instead of a deficit perspec-
tive where we only consider what they don’t know
and can’t yet do” (reflective memo, 2017).

In the findings, I highlight the three themes
identified in the data analysis: the documentation
of student miscues, student retells that incorporate
home language, and the provision of feedback to
students. In doing so, I showcase how responsive
adaptations can infuse the entire formative reading
assessment process (see Table 1). All three teachers
are featured in the findings, but more emphasis is
placed on Ella’s work to offer readers an in- depth
description of one teacher’s practice.

Documenting Emergent
Bilinguals’ Miscues: Ella’s
Practice in an ENL Setting

Santiago, a fifth grader and one of Ella’s students,
walked confidently into her room for ENL sup-
port. He smiled and sat down next to her waiting
for instructions. Ella pulled A Giant in the Forest,
a text from the Developmental Reading Assessment
(DRA). Santiago is from Guatemala and has been in
the US for three years. It is his second year at Wil-
low. While Santiago was learning English quickly,
his reading continued to demonstrate miscues (stu-
dents’ deviations from the text they are reading)
that are characteristic of an emergent bilingual who
is learning the intricacies of English grammar and
pronunciation along with the breadth of vocabulary
required of readers in general.

Ella, like many teachers of emergent bilin-
guals, noticed that the type and frequency of her
students’ miscues are impacted by their language
proficiency and cultural knowledge (Kabuto, 2017).
As Santiago read, Ella documented types of stu-
dent miscues she heard (see Figure 1). In addition

Writing Project Running Records in English and
used Trousse d’évaluation en lecture GB + in French
(a French- Canadian reading assessment tool). These
formative assessments were chosen by the adminis-
trations at their schools and were used to provide
information for school report cards, to monitor stu-
dent growth, and to yield data to shape classroom
reading instruction.

During each of the observations, I took notes
on the classroom environment, the teachers’ adap-
tations, and students’ responses. I also took pictures
of teachers’ documentation sheets of each student’s
assessment. When a teacher had availability after
the observation, we would debrief. The goal of these
short discussions was to seek immediate clarifica-
tion about the reasons for adaptations and to glean
more information about individual children. The
additional data from these impromptu conversations
became fieldnotes. I interviewed each teacher once
for an hour and transcribed these conversations.
Ella’s principal asked her to write a reflective memo
about her formative reading assessment work,
which she shared with me; this memo was incorpo-
rated into the body of data collected.

I used open- coding of all the data to identify
patterns within the responsive adaptations teachers
implemented (Charmaz, 2010; Creswell, 2012).
All observational notes, fieldnotes, and transcribed
interviews were coded to capture 1) trends in the
type of responsive adaptations teachers used; 2) the
reasoning behind teachers’ responsively adapted
reading assessments; 3) teachers’ perceptions and
attitudes about the pedagogical importance of the
adaptations. Once the data was coded, I identified
themes. These themes include: the documentation
of student miscues, student retells that incorporate
home language, and the provision of feedback to
students. I then reread the data to identify examples
that would offer readers a window into how respon-
sive adaptations can be enacted in classrooms along
with the possibilities they offer teachers for under-
standing students’ reading development. Through
the examples, I hope to highlight the complexities
in conducting this work. An earlier draft of this arti-
cle was sent to the teachers for comments, and their
feedback was incorporated into this article.

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Language Arts, Volume 95, Number 6, July 2018

Laura Ascenzi-Moreno | TraNSlaNguagiNg aNd rESPONSivE aSSESSmENT adaPTaTiONS

Figure 1. Ella’s documentation of Santiago’s miscues

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Language Arts, Volume 95, Number 6, July 2018

Laura Ascenzi-Moreno | TraNSlaNguagiNg aNd rESPONSivE aSSESSmENT adaPTaTiONS

to the three cueing systems— meaning, visual, and
syntactical— that teachers typically use to analyze
miscues (Goodman, 1969), she included one col-
umn for miscues related to pronunciation and one
related to language, such as new vocabulary. This
adaptation allowed her to compile a differentiated
list of miscues that served as a placeholder for fur-
ther exploration and analysis.

By the end of his reading, Ella had documented
some of his miscues, such as “beard” for “bird” and
“failen” for “fallen,” that she wanted to follow- up
on. She asked Santiago to clarify his understand-
ing of these words. When she asked him about the
word he pronounced as “beard,” Santiago pointed
to the picture in the text and said, “pájaro,” which
means bird in English. By checking in with Santi-
ago about his miscue and welcoming his response
in Spanish, Ella, who has a working knowledge of
Spanish, decided his miscue was the result of pro-
nunciation rather than unfamiliar vocabulary or a
visual miscue (attending to the visual information in
the word). Thus, she said to him, “When we say the
name of this creature, we call it a bird” (observation
1/24/2017). She continued to investigate what San-
tiago meant when he said “failen” for “fallen,” and
once again it was a matter of pronunciation.

Her curiosity about his miscues led to clarifi-
cation that has important implications for Ella as
a teacher and Santiago as a reader. Ella’s guiding
principle of viewing Santiago through what he
could do allowed her to gain insight into how his
emerging facility with English impacted his read-
ing, and she used this knowledge to support him.
This is different from a monolingual administration
of a formative reading assessment, in which these
miscues may be marked as errors.

Ella also created a space for dialogue in which
Santiago could use his home language to clarify
his miscues. In asking Santiago questions about
his reading, he learned, albeit implicitly, that his
teacher was interested in him as a reader and not
acting solely as an assessor. In my personal expe-
rience as a teacher and now as a teacher educator,
I have repeatedly heard teachers and students talk
about formative reading assessments as “tests”
and then take up a formal, non- interactive stance

during the assessment. Ella’s informal conversa-
tion with Santiago is a departure from assessment
practices in which the teacher and the student do
not engage in constructive and informative dialogue
that can directly impact practice. By noting Santi-
ago’s language- specific miscues, Ella is taking up
a translanguaging lens in this assessment, which
allows her to isolate the features he needs to develop
in English alongside his capabilities as a reader,
capabilities that transcend language boundaries.
Furthermore, Santiago’s multilingual capabilities
are positioned as a strength, which aids in clarifying
his miscues to his teacher.

Students Retell in their Home
Language: Examples from Ella’s
and Anaïs’s Classrooms

Ella and Anaïs made spaces for students’ language
practices during the retell portion of the assessment …

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