Brittany Melton Produced as a class project at WKU for CFS 294- Fall, 2009 Assessing Children Whose Native Language is Not English
Preparing to Assess Children Whose Native Language is not English
Develop a understanding of the children’s backgrounds
Determine if a translator is needed
Become knowledgeable about the child’s life
Analyze what is going to be assessed
English Language Learners
According to a recent study English Language Learners hold 10% of the total school population.
The percentage is at an all time high and continuing to increase
Many English Language Learners are at a disadvantage due to poor literacy skills.
But you can not assume that all these children come from inadequate schooling in their native countries.
The Teachers Responsibility
With the rise in students that have no English backgrounds it is necessary that the teachers become able to teach and conduct adequate assessments for these children.
Assessments in Different Languages
Since the United States is becoming so diverse many assessments are offered in other languages than English.
It is important to remember that often in other cultures and languages some words or phrases may not be used; therefore, the child may not understand what is being asked of them, even in their native language.
Often assessments are created for children that are White and in the middle-class social group.
Many professionals are not trained or knowledgeable in assessing children whose native language is not English.
Using Multiple Assessments
When assessing any child it is important to use more than one type of assessment. With a child whose first language is not English authentic and informal assessments would be best.
These are a few types of assessments that can be used:
Standardized Assessments A test that has specified content, procedures for administration and scoring, and normative data for interpreting scores. Children whose first language is not English are required to take standardized assessments which have not been created for someone whose second language is English .
Authentic Assessments Learning that is real and meaningful. Achievement that is worthwhile. Authentic assessment is found to the most beneficial for children whose native language is not English. It will give the teacher information about the child’s writing ability in English and also showcase this information for the parents.
English in the Home Children whose first language is not English typically speak only their native language in their home. This requires that the teacher or professional provide an atmosphere for them in the classroom that allows them to use their English skills. This also applies for when they are being assessed. It may be difficult for them to be assessed in the same way as native English speakers if their only interaction with English is in the classroom.
Including the Parents
Parents are key elements to the child’s success.
It is essential that you include them in every step of the process.
Before the assessment a brief description should be give and often a questionnaire.
After the assessment they should be informed of the results and asked to help set goals
Strategies for Teachers
It is necessary for teachers to use strategies in order to successfully assess children whose native language is not English.
Evaluate what the child knows
Analyze what the child can do
Interpret the child’s growth
Analyzing the Child’s Abilities
When assessing a child whose first language is not English it is important to determine the child’s English abilities before the assessment.
There may need to be a translator
The child may be able to speak but not write English
Determine if the child will comprehend each part of the assessment
Conclusion I found that when assessing a child whose native language is not English you must follow specific considerations. Here are a few: 1. Develop an understanding of the child’s background and family life 2. Involve the parents throughout the process 3. Don’t assume anything 4. Evaluate the situation before assessing the child
References Schulz, M.M. (2009). Effective writing assessment and instruction for young english language learners. Early Childhood Education Journal , 37, 57-62. Green, E.J. (1997). Guidelines for serving linguistically and culturally diverse. Early Childhood Education Journal , 24(3), 147-154. Wortham, S.C. (2008). Assessment in early childhood education . Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Merrill Prentice Hill.