The dominant first language spoken among the second language students of Galena Park Independent School District is Spanish, with students at the elementary level being taught in dual language classrooms. Several years ago, the initial focus of the district was to increase the literacy skills of English language learners, however as the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) scores decreased in the academic areas of science and mathematics, then focus shifted towards improvements in the academic areas of science...
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One of the first things new teacher candidates are told is to always pretend there is a best world scenario when taking certification assessments. However, once teachers actually begin teaching, they soon learn that there is no ideal scenario in the world of education. In fact, the perfect model for testing and measurement of bilingual or second language students cannot even be attained without first taking into consideration federal laws, state requirements, region or district expectations, educator and community perspectives, and even the students’ home languages. If there was one bit of perfection to be sought in the quest for a perfect assessment tool for English language learners, it would be to not fail schools whose English language learners cannot pass an assessment that has been written in a language that they do not quite fully understand.
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