Bridget Murphy

Publication Date





This policy brief was drafted by Bridget Murphy, a 2017 graduate of the University at Buffalo School of Law. It examines education for English language learners in Buffalo. After setting out the language diversity in Buffalo Public Schools and the challenges for English language learners, the brief explores the benefits of performance-based assessment. Rather than insist on memorization, this approach uses critical-thinking, research skills, and problem-solving to help students break through the language barrier. In fact, in performance-based high schools, the graduation rate for English language learners is nearly 20% higher than in schools that use standardized testing. The brief argues that Buffalo Public School leaders should advocate for broader use of performance-based assessment in New York State education standards. This publication builds on Partnership for the Public Good’s work to improve language access in the Buffalo-Niagara region, including calling for a Limited English Proficiency plan in the Buffalo Public Schools, created and implemented in partnership with the community.