Having a broad overview of how laws and the law-making process fit into the assessment for LEP students, gives teachers a chance to understand the mistakes others have made.
Certainly as we are learning, the assessment of students calls for looking at a myriad of factors. While it is a bit disheartening, it comes as no surprise that the laws
governing assessment practices have come about through trial and error. The author is quick to point out this reactionary history. This chapter offers some of the most important cases and historical happenings
surrounding assessment and the treatment of students with special circumstances.
The authors’ initial opinion that laws alone will not guide you to serving students 100% effectively was noteworthy. While the laws are in place to offer guidance
and protect the rights of students, there is a lot more needed in order to help LEP students and students with disabilities. As was stated, we must use these as a
a firm foundation but continue to build upon that base. This is important for a few reasons.
We want to improve the environment for students and the laws offer
little guidance on teaching methods, curriculum, and a ton of other things a teacher will face with LEP students. They do however give guidelines for determining
who LEP students are so that we can better identify students in need and choose our methods more wisely.
Given the history of this topic I think it is also important to encourage people to think of these
laws as a “base” because there may need to be more changes in the future. The practices for assessment today have come from years of interactions. It would be silly to
think it is perfect. Therefore, we need to work within their context but always be aware that new situations may arise that call for ammendments to the process.
As I understood it, reform comes from consent decrees, cases, and finally the adoption or ammendment of an act. Consent decrees are basically conflicts taht end before a decision is made in court. These have
helped to get people thinking about reform regardless. Cases that end in a decision become case law and are therefore refferred back to when making decisions. In this way we have trudged
through some bad times in history to afford students a better environment. Pieces of legislation such as the EHA and IDEA have helped to give students with disablities and LEP students a
fair chance at an equal education.
No doubt bringing up these problems in the past was not easy for those who brought it to light. It was noted that the IDEA is frequently changed and although a lot of the big issues have been cleared up it is
important to continue to question and improve legislation as the LEP student population continues to change.
As part of my ongoing pursuit of a masters in ed with an ESL focus I will be posting my reflections from readings I am doing.
Currently I am reading:
Assessing Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students: A Practical Guide ISBN: 1-59385-141-3