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An Assessment Of Learning Disabled Bilingual Students

1424 words - 6 pages

An Assessment of Learning Disabled Bilingual Students

When speaking of the learning disabled, bilingual student, one must consider some dimensions to the issue of assessment within a particularly specialized light. This special population reflects both the learning disabled (LD) and the bilingual student. For purposes of this discussion, it is presumed that most all members of this specialized segment are Hispanic. This is largely the case within a practical context, although as the literature points out, pre-considerations must be afforded for bilingual education (students) Ñ as well as those members of the Hispanic community who reflect a variety of backgrounds, including ...view middle of the document...

He challenges an assumption by many educators that Hispanic students from Spanish language homes do less well in schools than Hispanic students from primarily English speaking homes. The direction of the difference on each of ten scholastic variables indicates that students from additive bilingual homes have a conspicuous advantage when compared to counterparts from subtractive bilingual homes.

The importance of this finding is highlighted to a number of conclusions, which may be constructed on the basis of the data made available (1985). Based upon personal and practical experience, it has been the observations of this author that definitive controversy and even disagreement exists and is centered around various approaches to the academic advancement of the learning disabled, bilingual student. It is also the opinion of this author that a translator is particularly purposeful and, in fact, indispensable. In many cases throughout our current school system, s/he is realized in the form of the teacher who is also bilingual. As indicated, disagreements or risks revolve around that which has to do with a greater emphasis on Spanish grammar and related biases. These arguments are often seen amongst parents, principals and teachers. One practical example of this is that, at times, parents have expressed their desire for letter grades (A-F), while principals and teachers prefer at-, above-, or below- grade level marks along with effort grades of outstanding, satisfactory, or unsatisfactory. Invariably, schools have won out, yet the question persists as to how much influence parents have when it comes to determining the effectiveness of bilingual education and English language proficiency in special education. In terms of the role of the translator, this role has been largely assumed by educators and, to a lesser extent, parents and other community members. These may include advisors, decision-makers, etc. who work on a voluntary basis in the schools. Yet, amongst them there exists many points of disagreement, albeit it is the expectation of this author to point out both the areas of agreement as well as disagreement. For example, middle-class schools have established a much better partnership with the parents than had the working-class schools. The role of a translator cannot be minimized, and it is the view of this author that parental involvement is both beneficial as well as may be used to promote an educational program reflecting essential parental involvement. The more the parents know, the more they can participate in the learning disabled, bilingual child's education.

Another study dealing precisely with the effects of Spanish home language and the academic performance of Hispanics included the relationship between academic achievement, language development and psychosocial adjustment of children. These children in question spoke Spanish in the home. (Imhoff, 1990) Assessment, as indicated at the outset of this research paper,...

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