Standardized testing would not be standardized if it was given in multiple forms. The tests are designed and tested to measure everyone on the exact same playing field. I used to work in a neuropsychology laboratory building test equipment for hospitals. These tests were designed years ago and thousands of hours of testing and thousands of test subjects were run through their paces in order to create the standardized tests to test for the amount of damage done to the brain in any accident. There were many top psychologists that tried over the years to have the cumbersome equipment updated, but were told repeatedly that any change in the test or equipment would nullify the test.
Our educational standardized tests are no different. If we begin to change the tests then any and all data collected would be misleading and wrong. A child with a math disability could not be given a calculator to complete his test and have his score be weighed with the same weight as a student that took the test without a calculator. The language issue unfortunately falls in the same category. The test was created and measured for the English language and would have to be taken in the English language.
In daily work with elementary students in a school district that has a high percentage of non-English speaking, monolingual children, standardized testing is a huge nightmare. Most of the kids who cannot speak English are still made to take the standardized tests in English. Their poor scores flood the statistics with wrong information. Our schools are then labeled as failing because too many of the students didn’t pass or meet the standard. The district loses funding and the quality of education begins to fall. It is tragic.
Many of the kids that fill the classrooms are from Mexico and English is not spoken in their homes. These kids are thrown into English speaking classes and expected to keep up and learn. Many students carry the attitude that they don’t care to learn English and refuse to try. Others do put forth the effort and it shows in their work.
Taking these children out of the English spoken classes can benefit everyone. The English speaking children would be able to learn at a more rapid rate as teachers will no longer have to repeat every lesson and direction in two languages. The students who do not speak English could then meet in a class that would focus on teaching them the English language as a priority instead of the thirty minute English Language Learners class they get four days a week.
Learning the language in this type of environment would give them a greater benefit in the long run and provide them with greater advantages in the educational and professional future. In the short run, they would be better able to face the standardized tests that mean more to their schools then to their own personal lives.