SAMPLE is a web-based standards-based placement assessment that measures math skills of incoming students regardless of language proficiency. I first developed a paper-and-pencil version of SAMPLE as a classroom teacher when I grew frustrated at all the talented English language learners (ELLs) who were tracked into low level math based on low English proficiency, not their math abilities. Immigrant students arrive at our schools with all kinds of abilities and potential. I created SAMPLE to capture those abilities and give teachers valuable information in order to place students appropriately, tailor instruction to their needs, and set them up for success in school. In March of 2012, I launched SAMPLE as an online assessment and over 300 students in four local districts have utilized the tool. Schools report better placement and higher achievement in math classes, as well as improved communication between families, ESL staff, math teachers and counselors. Based on feedback from the field, we are currently developing a Middle School SAMPLE for 2013-2014.

SAMPLE is unique compared to other math placement assessments in that it is specifically designed for ELL students. Most large assessment programs on the market are designed with the assumption that students taking the assessment are fluent English speakers. I am a small fish in the sea of assessment programs with a simple idea: let's do our best to allow ELLs to demonstrate what they know so we can set them up for success from day one.

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