California currently has approximately 1.5 million limited English proficient students representing 25% of the overall student population. According to the 1968 Bilingual Education Act, which ammended the 1964 Elementary and Secondary Education Act, it is a violation of their rights to not to offer instruction in a language they understand or to refuse them services. However, in 1998, the people of California passed proposition 227, which limits bilingual education to one-year transition programs. In order to comply with both policies, California school districts have been requiring more and more teachers to become CLAD certified. The Crosscultural, Language, and Academic Development certificate is offered to those who have been identified as having knowledge of how to work with English language learners. One can earn it either by taking approved series of courses or passing the series of four certification tests. How qualified are you to teach students from other cultures with limited English skills? Below are questions selected from the CLAD certificate examinations:
Test 1: Language Structure and First- and Second-Language Development
1. Which of the following parts of speech can be used to complete the sentence "The ________ jumped high"?
2. Which of the following statements about dialects is most accurate?
A. The use of dialects hinders language development.
B. Dialects are valid tools for communication.
C. The use of dialects indicates a disadvantaged student.
D. Dialects represent a stage in an individual's language development.
Test 2: Methodology of Bilingual, English Language Development, and Content Instruction
1. Which of the following is the most appropriate way to make a social studies lesson delivered in English understandable to students whose primary language is other than English?
A. Include a filmstrip as part of the lesson.
B. Use a larger number of worksheets than used with fluent English speakers.
C. Teach a comparable lesson from a lower grade level.
D. Simplify the lesson by focusing on only a few of the key concepts.
2. Which of the following is the most appropriate first step to take for a student whose primary language is not English, who has been in U.S. schools for several years, and who has still not made a successful transition to English?
A. Refer the student to special education for testing.
B. Provide the student with a bilingual paraprofessional for tutoring.
C. Conduct a comprehensive assessment of the student's language skills.
D. Determine gaps in the student's content knowledge and reteach missing knowledge.
Test 3: Culture and Cultural Diversity
1. Which of the following is not an example of an intragroup cultural difference?
A. Hmong immigrants engage in different religious practices than Laotian immigrants.
B. Many third-generation Puerto Ricans are less proficient in Spanish than are their grandparents.
C. Chinese immigrants from Hong Kong celebrate the New Year differently from Chinese immigrants from Vietnam.
D. Filipino immigrant children of professionals face less difficulty in adapting to the U.S. school system than do Filipino immigrant children of farm laborers.
2. Compared with earlier waves of immigrants, the people who came to the United States during the 1980s:
A. were poorer and less educated than previous immigrants.
B. concentrated in urban rather than rural areas.
C. were victims of political oppression or economic deprivation.
D. represented a more diverse range of cultures.
Test 4: Methodology for Primary-Language Instruction
1. Which of the following strategies is most appropriate to use first with a student whose primary language is other than English and who is having difficulty understanding a concept explained in an English language textbook?
A. Encourage the student to follow along in the text while another student with strong English skills reads the passage aloud.
B. Use the student's primary language to determine whether the student is familiar with and understands the concept.
C. Show the student how to look up unfamiliar words from the textbook passage in a dictionary or the book's glossary.
D. Have the student read about the concept from a primary-language textbook written for younger students.
2. When evaluating the multicultural perspective of supplementary materials in languages other than English, it is most important that the materials:
A. highlight human commonalities as well as cultural and social differences.
B. highlight outstanding individuals, both past and present, in various cultures.
C. emphasize the positive as well as the negative features of various cultural groups.
D. stress cultural commonalities and de-emphasize that which makes individuals of a cultural group different.
Providing students with a teacher who has passed the CLAD certification tests, regardless of training, meets the federal requirement to provide limited English proficient students with services.
Answers: Test 1-- 1A, 2B, Test 2--1A, 2C, Test 3--1A, 2D, Test 4--1B, 2A
For more sample test items visit California CLAD/BCLAD Examinations Study Guides for tests 1-6.
Statistics and executive summary of California's limited English proficient population from Review of Research on the Education of Limited English Proficient Students: A Report to the California Legislature by Patricia Gandara (1999).