International Journal of Language & Linguistics

ISSN 2374-8850 (Print), 2374-8869 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/ijll

Use Mainstream Language Tests For Language Minority Students To Screen Communication Disorders?
Ruixia Yan

Test development and test use carry important social responsibilities. There is consensus that language testing and assessment should reflect sociological and ethical aspects of testing along with concerns for naturalistic language use in tests (Canale, 1988; McNamara & Roever, 2006; Yan, 2009, 2013). This requirement is more urgent for language testing and assessment involving English Language Learners (ELL) and individuals of cultural and linguistic diversity. In assessing students from such background whose native language is a minority language, and in determining whether they have communication disorders, tests written in the mainstream language are generally used. This leads to over-representation of language minority groups as communication disordered and their under-representation in classes for the gifted (Oller, 1997, 2000, 2001; Yan, 2013; Yan & Oller, 2007). This paper examines the difficulties that tests written in the mainstream language pose for language minority students. A three-stage assessment process is discussed to avoid the disproportionate representation of language minority students in classes for learning difficulties and for the gifted.

Full Text: PDF