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ERIC Number: ED184053
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Jan
Pages: 9
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
Language Proficiency Testing: Let's Listen to What the Kids Say!
Low, Anni
In an effort to comply with bilingual instruction requirements, school districts throughout California will soon be involved in testing vast numbers of children to determine language proficiency and language dominance. Many language tests will require a child to repeat a sentence or a phrase in exactly the same manner that is stated by an examiner or on a tape. Examiners with some experience in administering these tests will recognize a tendency of many children to repeat sentences in a manner that is similar but not exactly the same as the original statement, yet in a manner that does not actually alter the meaning of the entire statement. The variations tend to fall into two major categories: changes in syntax and changes in vocabulary. Many of the changes in syntax can be attributed to an ethnic dialect or even a child dialect, such as "The boys was busy," for "The boys were busy." A sample vocabulary change is the substitution of "dad" for "father." The adult's purpose in the testing activity may be to determine the child's ability to produce the correct sounds of a given language, but the child may not be interested in the adults' purposes. The child may be reconstructing reality or meaning as Piaget suggests children do. Test administrators should listen intelligently to these changes and give full credit in all cases where no changes in meaning have resulted. (MKM)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers; Guides - Non-Classroom
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Claremont Reading Conference (47th, Claremont, CA, January 18-19, 1980)