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ERIC Number: ED238907
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1982-Feb
Pages: 9
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Tests, Achievement, and Bilingual Students.
Cummins, Jim
FOCUS, n9 Feb 1982
Although most educators agree in theory that labeling linguistically and culturally different students as "low I.Q." can adversely affect their academic progress, in practice a disproportionate number of bilingual students are still being "deported" into special education and vocational classes as a combined result of indiscriminate use of mental tests and cultural and linguistic orientation of school programs. Teachers and psychologists commonly assume that minority language students have become "language proficient" when they have acquired peer-appropriate fluency in everyday communication. The dangers of such assumptions can be seen in a study in which the psychological assessments of over 400 minority language students were analyzed. Two continua (context-embedded and context-reduced language proficiency) were used to show the relationship between language proficiency and academic achievement. Research suggests that the acquisition of meaning in context-reduced classroom situations requires more knowledge of the language itself than is typically required in context-embedded face-to-face situations. By eliminating "lack of English proficiency" as an explanation for low achievement in bilingual students, educators risk creating academic deficits by attributing low academic performance or test scores to deficiencies in the student or in his or her background experiences. (LH)
Publication Type: Guides - Non-Classroom; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Administrators; Teachers; Counselors; Practitioners
Language: English
Sponsor: Office of Bilingual Education and Minority Languages Affairs (ED), Washington, DC.; National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: National Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education, Rosslyn, VA.