English Learners Left Behind: Standardized Testing as Language PolicyKate Menken
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Educating students who speak languages other than those recognized by school authorities is a most important issue. As the students' linguistic diversity has increased, educational authorities around the world have instituted high-stakes assessments that in effect push out language minority students. But there are few accounts of the effects of these assessments in the lives of students and their teachers. Menken's book is an exception. Written in elegant prose and with an abudance of scholarly data, Menken brings to light the tensions between top-down assessment policies and the ways in which teachers, as well as students, negotiate them. Focusing on the U.S. context, this important book is of relevance to anyone thinking about the relationship between school assessment and educational processes and practices throughout the world. Professor Ofelia Garcia, Program in Bilingual/Bicultural Education ,Teachers College, Columbia University,English Learners Left Behind is an outstanding, albeit troubling, study of how language policy is made in the surreal world of American education. As the first scholar to exhaustively document the pernicious effects of high-stakes testing for ELL students, Kate Menken has performed an invaluable service for both children and educators. All U.S. politicians should be required to read her book - and pass a test on it - before voting on misguided legislation like No Child Left Behind.James Crawford, President, Institute for Language and Education Policy