Multilingual assessment of the mathematical proficiency of newly arrived children

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Description of the practice

Regardless of the subject, primary school students in the Netherlands are almost always tested with Dutch-language assessments and by Dutch-speaking teachers. These pupils are examined in mathematic assessments not just on their mathematical abilities, but also on their Dutch language competency, while their level of Dutch language varies. Researchers and practitioners are working together on a new research initiative to look into the possibility of more valid and fair testing and evaluation techniques that take into account all students' mathematical potential.


  • Country: Netherlands

Example of Implementation

There are a lot of adjustments that can be made to existing ways of assessing, according to the researchers.

Jantien Smit, professor of applied sciences in Multilingualism and Education, explains: "Pupils themselves can play a role in the assessment process, for example, by creating a portfolio using their home language to show their knowledge and potential."

Marian van Popta, project leader and senior researcher in the research group for Multilingualism and Education: "Another idea is using a dictionary, Google Translate or a translation computer. Or involve language buddies: children who share the same home language and can function as brokers. Language buddies could also play a role in more formative moments, such as diagnostic conversations about mathematics between the teacher and the pupil. Another option is for the teacher and the class to negotiate about the final assignment with which the pupils will be able to demonstrate the achievement of the learning objectives. They can then also decide which languages they will use to that end. This research project aims to contribute to an enrichment of Dutch assessment culture."
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