Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Native Language testing in NY! This is big!!

I never thought the day would come when a state would be brave enough to step forward and do what's right and offer high stakes tests in a student's first language! Testing culture has conveniently ignored the fact that any test given in a language a student doesn't understand is not a reliable measurement of what they know!  Any English language dominant person who doesn't believe that should try to take a biology test in Arabic, or try to complete third grade level math word problems in Tagalog.   That said, New York is slaying the testing dragon (or perhaps fighting windmills - we'll see as time progresses) and taking the step to offer Language Arts assessments in Spanish since the majority of their students are Spanish speaking.  They are focusing on students who have Spanish literacy skills and have been in the US less than five years.  Of course - the matter of instruction comes up quickly - Will the students do well on a Spanish language exam if they haven't received instruction in that language?  This is problematic, but in my experience testing leads everything in education - so, "If we build it, they will come..."   Start with the test and then discover that we need instruction in this area and provide students with quality bilingual content instruction!  To read the article visit Learning Language.

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