Publication details [#63345]

Alexander, Mariko Mizuno. 2017. Transnational English language learners fighting on an unlevel playing field: high school exit exams, accommodations, and ESL status. Language Policy 16 (2) : 115–133.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Language as a subject
Place, Publisher


This article explores how late-entrant transnational English language learner (ELL) students negotiate the linguistic and academic challenges imposed by high school exit exams. Qualitative analyses display that these students deliberately flunk a state-wide English proficiency test mandated by No Child Left Behind and preserve their ELL status in order to evade losing ELL accommodations, without which they would have little hope of passing the exit exams. This article asserts that such intentional test-failure discloses the role of both teachers and students as policymakers in their own right. The article further delves into the serious test validity and fairness issues entailed in language education policies in the US and elucidates the importance of ensuring equitable treatment for ELLs and incorporating the voices of test-taking ELLs and their teachers into policymaking decisions.