Striving Toward Equitable Biliteracy Assessments in Hegemonic School Contexts

Alexandra Babino, Ricardo González-Carriedo


American schools today display unprecedented levels of diversity in regard to the linguistic, socioeconomic, and cultural backgrounds of their student population. Increasingly, more American students are also emergent bilingual learners. Despite this fact, most of the standardized assessments used by schools have been designed and normed for English monolingual students. The lack of specific assessments created for emergent bilinguals provides teachers and other stakeholders with only a partial and often inaccurate view of the students’ literacy growth as they develop proficiency in two languages. In this theoretical article, the authors explore how three complex characteristics of emergent biliteracy development interact: bilingual language proficiency, domains of language use, and language dominance. Then, they describe how teachers and school district leaders can begin to create more equitable assessment practices that are more closely aligned with the unique characteristics of biliteracy development admist largely hegemonic, monolingual school systems.

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