For my last post, I want to speak more about diversity, particularly in the classroom. Where I student taught this past semester, I encountered a lot more diversity in human beings than I had ever before. I wasn’t just racial diversity only. It was socio-economic, gender, religious, ideals, and moral diversity as well. This I encountered all in a 5-12 band program. We are stuck in a society that deems one standardized test determines the success of a child for the rest of their lives. This should be changed.
We have diverse classrooms and we need diverse instruction. Standardized tests need to be changed to be available in the language of the speaker. We do include standardized tests in the languages that are recognized by the United States, however, there are some languages that are left unrealized and neglect a portion of the American population every year. This is African American Vernacular English (AAVE). It is something that has been talked about in education classes. A test was given to a child who only knew AAVE instead of standard English. This child, when asking this question, “What do you use when you get out of the shower?,” did not know the answer because it was asked in standard English. His mother knew he knew the answer. The test proctor asked the mother to ask him in a what that he would recognize, and she said, “Whaddoya grab when you get outta the tub?” The child responded, “towel” which was the correct answer. (NOTE: Spelling is in phonetic reference to AAVE language.)
AAVE has become a popular enough language that it should be fused into the standardized test language list. If it isn’t, we are not providing an equal opportunity to each child taking standardizes tests such as the ACT. I am not saying we need to change what students are taught in school, particularly in their Language Arts and English classes. We do not do that for those who speak Spanish or Native American or other languages. However, it is required that a test such as the ACT should be available in the taker’s native language because it is a true test of their learning. AAVE tests should be available to those whose home language is AAVE.
With the ever-increasing diversity in school systems, testing strategies and language barriers should be available and updated as well. In order to provide equal educational opportunities to all, diversity stemming outward from the classroom is necessary.