Assessment is a tricky subject, I think we can all agree on this. It is never something teachers enjoy doing, and makes students anxious beyond belief. But have you ever wondered: What kinds of challenges do teachers face with assessing Immigrant children and how do you adjust assessments to fit their needs?
This question has plagued many teachers and students alike, but it is necessary. How do teachers create a meaningful assessment that is fair to those students? Assessments take TONS of time to create and consequently grade. Yet, not all assessments are graded. Some are based on observations. But, there is still criteria the teacher looks for. This question that I chose intrigued me because I do know assessment is necessary, but how do you create one that is fair for immigrant students who may not speak English? They deserve an even playing field because they may understand the information, just not in this new language.
The article, Assessment in early childhood education: threats and challenges to effective assessment of immigrant children, discusses assessment in Early Childhood Education and how it effects immigrant children and why it is tough to gauge their learning. Immigrant children generally speak another language when they come to the United States. When these children take the standardized tests they are unable to do well due to the fact that they cannot speak English. Therefore, they are then placed in the Special Education classes and receive ‘help’. However, this help is not useful because the students don’t speak English. When conferencing with parents about these issues, there are more complications. The parents are typically low income families and do not speak English either. This also makes it hard to communicate the problems to the parents as well as making sure their home can provide the necessary tools for the student to succeed (i.e. food, water, stress-free living situation). This connects to my question stated above because teachers have to work around all of these obstacles to find the best way to assess immigrant students. It is important to find solutions that allow these students the most optimal learning experience.
It is important to consider that these students will need special accommodations for assessments. With what the article said about where immigrant students are coming from and the language barrier, it is important that the child is fed and healthy. If a child isn’t fed, they won’t have an optimal learning experience because they will be hungry. The language barrier with the students and parents is another important thing to consider. Does the school offer a translator? That could be an easy communication tool during conferences. During tests, maybe offer the test in the student’s home language.
These are all things to consider when creating assessments for immigrant students as well as teaching immigrant students. So I will leave you with this: When an immigrant student comes to your classroom, what steps will you take to make sure they feel welcomed and can learn on the same playing field as every other student?