There are a number of assessment options that can be used to assess the English Language Learners those with Special Education services. The personnel concerned with the education system have the responsibility of determining which assessments would be most successful and relevant. Nevertheless, they do not give a full reflection of the English Language Learners abilities because of the extreme pressure and expectations from language.
The tests offered to these kinds of students are standardized but some of them can be biased culturally impacting the ability of the students. The assessment options evaluations are discussed below, describing their feasibility, their advantages and disadvantages, and when one test can be used in place of another.
Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children
It is often abbreviated as WISC and it is used to test for intelligence in children as reflected in both verbal and nonverbal abilities. Intelligence is part of a persons overall personality; therefore, it is a quality that can reflect a number of skills that can be measured. WISC is a placement course for children who are disabled developmentally. WISC can only be used for individual with Intelligence levels that range between 70 and 160. Below or above it will not produce effective results. This assessment can be effective if only the teachers are aware of the students bilingual ability and are administered to an individual and to a group.
The advantages of WISC or rather intelligence tests are as follows; the tests can identify children whose intellectual abilities are above normal. They can be motivated by being offered more educational experience. WISC provides a lot of information that is valuable. The psychologists get to know how their brains work and they can advice teachers to constantly improve their tests.
The cons include the following; the tests can be biased. It is very hard to come up with an assessment evaluation paper that is not culture-biased. This is a factor that test developers have been working on but they have come up with a successful solution. However, some tests such as Cattel Culture-Fair have been able to measure intelligence independently from language ability. Another con is that these tests label a childs ability. Labeling can be very harmful since it can either lower a childs self-esteem or make that child with high Intelligence quotient to start looking down upon the rest. In addition, this test cannot be used alone; some more tests are needed for the results to be more effective.
Bilingual Verbal Abilities Test
The second assessment evaluation test that can be used is Bilingual Verbal Abilities Test (BVAT). This test is administered to English Language Learners when they first enter bilingual education. It sets a standard to determine when the student can leave the bilingual program. This test is used to measure an individual bilingual ability or the unique combination of languages. It provides a better estimate of verbal ability since it measures the English language and one more language that the learner knows. BVAT is very useful since it can be used for a number of purposes. It can be used for entry and exit criteria into bilingual kind of programs. It can also be used for comparison purposes, to determine the current level of English language proficiency to that of his bilingual verbal ability. This challenges the student at a greater extent.
BVAT is composed of three areas; picture vocabulary, oral vocabulary and verbal analogies. This test has its advantages and disadvantages. The advantages are as follows; it improves cognitive skills. The brain of the learner automatically adjusts to using two languages at the same time. A learner gets to enhance his or her memory as well as managing switching attention. Bilingual speakers have the ability to monitor systems. BVAT are able to delay cognitive damage on individuals who suffer from dementia and other cognitive degenerative diseases.
BVAT are considered harmful to ones verbal development and the Intelligence Quotient. It has been discovered that monolingual speakers are better off when it comes to verbal development. Another big problem with assessment is having enough teachers that speak the different languages so that the students are assessed effectively and efficiently. This test is expensive and is limited to institutions that can afford the expense.
The options discussed above differ in their ability on how they are implemented. They demonstrate varying amounts of time to give and are currently the most common tests offered in todays schools. Non-Verbal assessments can be used in place of the WISC. They test similar areas and give a full scale of Intelligence Quotient which can be used to identify a learning disabled student
In conclusion, these assessments are used to know the learners strengths and weaknesses in English language. They are also used to design programs for their students to enhance their learning activities.
Outline of the WISC-IV General Ability Index. (2013-2016). Retrieved from http://study.com/academy/lesson/outline-of-the-wisc-iv-general-ability-index.html
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