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English Learners Left Behind: Standardized Testing as Language Policy

This book explores how high-stakes tests mandated by No Child Left Behind have become de facto language policy in U.S. schools, detailing how testing has shaped curriculum and instruction, and the myriad ways that tests are now a defining force in the daily lives of English Language Learners and the educators who serve them.
English Learners Left Behind: Standardized Testing as Language Policy
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In the wake of recent federal legislation entitled No Child Left Behind, high-stakes standardized testing for accountability purposes is being emphasized in educational systems across the U.S. for all students - including English Language Learners (ELLs). Yet language proficiency mediates test performance, so ELLs typically receive scores far below those of other students. This book explores how tests have become de facto language policy in schools, shaping what is taught in school, how it is taught, and in what language(s) it is taught. In New York City, while most schools responded to testing by increasing the amount of English instruction offered to ELLs, a few schools have preserved native language instruction instead. Moreover, this research documents how tests are a defining force in the daily lives of ELLs and the educators who serve them.
Kate Menken is an Assistant Professor of Linguistics and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) at Queens College of the City University of New York (CUNY), and a Research Fellow at the Research Institute for the Study of Language in an Urban Society at the CUNY Graduate Center. Previously, she was a teacher of English as a second language.
Content Acknowledgement PART I: Language Policy Context 1. Introduction 2. Language Policy, Federal Education Legislation, and English Language Learners in the United States 3. The New York Case: The Local Implementation of a National Policy PART II: Standardized Tests in Daily School Life 4. Tongue-Tied: The Linguistic Challenges that Standardized Tests Pose for English Language Learners 5. The Ones Left Behind: How High-Stakes Tests Impact the Lives and Schooling Experiences of ELL Students 6. "Teaching to the Test" as Language Policy: The Focus on Test Preparation in Curriculum and Instruction for ELLs PART III: Expansion & Recommendations 7. Higher Expectations vs. Language as Liability: Why the Drawbacks of Accountability Outweigh the Benefits for English Language Learners 8. High-Stakes Testing and Language Un-Planning: Theoretical Implications of Testing as Language Policy 9. Moving Forward: Embracing Multilingual Language Policies from the Top-Down to the Bottom-Up
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
Author
Kate Menken
Short Title
ENGLISH LEARNERS LEFT BEHIND
Publisher
Multilingual Matters Limited
Language
English
ISBN-10
1853599972
ISBN-13
9781853599972
Media
Book
Format
Paperback
DEWEY
306.449
Illustrations
Yes
Year
2008
Publication Date
2008-01-31
Subtitle
Standardized Testing as Language Policy
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
Alternative
9786611878405
Affiliation
City University of New York
Pages
207
Series
Bilingual Education and Bilingualism
Series Number
65
Place of Publication
Bristol
Birth
1968
Imprint
Multilingual Matters
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