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Leslie Villegas was an Associate Policy Analyst with the Migration Policy Institute, where she worked with the National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy on K-12 education issues affecting immigrant children and their families. She conducted research on implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and worked with a network of organizations in seven states that ensure English Learners are provided with equitable and accountable public education services.
Before joining MPI, Ms. Villegas worked for the California Legislature in various capacities, including as public policy researcher, analyst, and advisor, as well as government relations and community outreach representative for various elected officials. While studying in Scotland, she consulted on a project to create a Scottish National Action Plan for Responsible Business, where she assisted with the creation of a Leadership Group of Scottish businesses and the Scottish government. Through this project she conducted research for her master’s dissertation on public-private partnership best practice and how to utilize the private sector as a tool for poverty eradication.
She holds a master’s degree in international development from the University of Edinburgh, and a bachelor’s of arts degree in political science from California State University, Sacramento.
With high stakes attached to standardized tests in U.S. education, it is critical that these assessments accurately capture what students know and can do in a subject. For English Learners, this may be a challenge if they cannot fully demonstrate in English what they have learned. Native language assessments are one promising tool for overcoming this hurdle, though questions about when and with whom they are most effective remain.
All 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have developed blueprints to meet their commitments under the Every Student Succeeds Act—including requirements that aim to raise the profile of English Learners (EL) in state accountability systems. This report breaks these plans down, comparing the significant diversity of approaches taken on everything from EL identification to tracking academic achievement.
This issue brief offers community stakeholders a framework to evaluate state education accountabiilty plans to determine if they meet required English Learner (EL) accountability elements. The information that community stakeholders collect using this framework may be used to monitor implementation and adherence to state plans and to evaluate the efficacy of policies chosen by the state.