Minorities: Standardized Tests Sample
In the recent years there has been a strong movement to use curriculum of the standardized testing as a basis of evaluating student performance in the United States of America. Because of the Enactment of The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, or No Child Left Behind (NCLB), legislators and citizens at large have developed high demand for higher examinations scores and good school performance. This research paper presents an overview of how the minority student perform on the standardized testing in the areas of mathematics and sciences, why their results are normally poor and how to improve their performance in those subjects across the United States.
How the minority student perform on the standardized testing in the areas of mathematics and sciences
In the United States, education has regularly developed from the starting of the public school movement of the 1990’s up to now. In the year 1990, before the No Child Left behind Act of 2001, the New Standards Project was created by a group of committees and many professional organizations to improve standards in education systems. They were included; performance and content standards which were introduced in many subject areas for every grade level, K-12.Performance Standards are standards that “tell how good is good enough-that is, how well the student has to perform to achieve or exceed the standard” (Rhode Island Department of Education, 2006).
As from the year 2000 and beyond the United States faced the potential of serious shortage of individuals carrying duties in the field of mathematics and sciences. This problem comes out clear in the underrepresented minority students (Black, Hispanics and American Indians).Minority group are poorly represented at every level of education system. Poor preparations in mathematics and sciences among the minority students in the beginning of their elementary education programs affects their enrollment and achievement in secondary-level education programs, college education and even their career choices later in life.
As the economy of the nation is keeping on growing towards new technology, participation of the minority students in sciences and mathematics still remains poor. This is because they don’t study these subjects. Thus, they tend to lose a lot in the world of technology. Hence; they deprive themselves of many choices, including the skilled technical and computer-related areas. Besides, having elementary understanding of mathematics and sciences is very important for all students, not only for those who are pursuing their future career in the technical fields. The future problems of inadequate scientists and engineers in the United States can only be solved by considering the minority students in sciences and mathematics (Clerk, V.J).
According to research, very few minorities are involved in the field of sciences in the United States. Although there is some improvement over some years the minorities are still poorly represented in science related areas, both in training and employment level. Information from the National Science Foundation (NSF) brings out that in the year 1990, racial and ethnic minorities constituted 22% of the civilian labor force out of this 14% only were from science and engineering labor force. The minorities represented 19% of the total labor force and 8% i9n the science and engineering. The well represented group in the science and engineering were Asian Americans, at 3% of the total labor force and 6% of the science and engineering labor force. Even though Blacks indicated good performance during the decade from 1980 till 1990, in the science and engineering field, they continue to be underrepresented in those fields. On the other hand, Hispanics and American Indians also remains poorly represented in these areas of study (Clerk, V.J).
In United States there is a very big “achievement gap” in education between the Caucasian and minority students. The “achievement gap” means the disparity in academic performance among the group of certain students. The achievement gap indicates any results in standardized-test scores, course selection, education grades, dropout level, college-finishing levels and many other factors. The achievement gap between the Caucasian and minority students is created by the following factors;
Poor performance in sciences and mathematics in the United States are due to socioeconomic factors. Following the research done by the Census Bureau in the year 2009, children younger than18 living in families more than 15 million live under poverty. This involves 4.9 million, which is about 10% of the minority children. The seminal study of language development which was done in the year 1995 indicates that, by the age of 3, minority children usually lower language skills than Caucasian children (Capital Round Table).
Many minority students also face the problem of less access to highly qualified teachers in sciences and mathematics. Qualified teachers in sciences and mathematics have little time with minority students as compared with a lot of time they share with Caucasian students. This practice of teachers makes the minority students to dislike and fear science and mathematics at the elementary school level and take interest only on the minimum required units in these subjects during their elementary and high school levels. Due to these factors they came out of the elementary and secondary schools without enough knowledge in mathematics and sciences. This affects them later, more especially when they develop an interest in the fields of sciences and mathematics (Clerk, V.J).
The following factors bring out the reasons why the teachers have traditionally barred minority students from achieving high levels of education in the sciences and mathematics. This tendency of stopping minority students from getting quality education in these subjects is mainly based on the racist ideologies. For instance, American Indian who have successful completed their college education do not report having been advanced to have college education by their teachers(Davis,1992).Besides, minority students were underrepresented in science and mathematics because of the contents of the textbooks that required high standards of English understanding.
Standardized group testing mainly requires high skills in languages, especially in reading. Thus, a student who has a problem in English language normally finds it difficult to perform well in science and mathematics. Hence, it is clear that minority students will not perform in sciences and mathematics as compared to the Caucasian students who have good skills in the English language. In addition, the minority students normally lack motivation by test taking. Most of them finds the questions not relevant to their interests, and do not take their time in answering them. Finally, many minority students many times get poor grades on tests because they normally don’t understand mathematical processes. This makes the not to compute equally with the Caucasian students who have good foundation in mathematical processes (Davison D, M & Reyner, J).
Conclusion and recommendations
In conclusion many minority students who fail to succeed in sciences and mathematics do not value these subjects because they believe they were made for the Caucasian students. This brings out the message that good Institutions are for the Caucasian students and further more minority students believes that even the work hard in science and mathematics while in school at the end they will not secure technical-oriented jobs. This is because there always poorly represented in the technical fields.
Based on the research reviewed in this paper, I make the following recommendations to improve performance in science and mathematics of minority students in future. Common reforms should include; creating smaller schools, expanding early-childhood programs of teaching English language, reducing class sizes for minority students, improving the quality of teachers teaching in these areas, implementing of the ethno mathematics and ethno science which will help teachers to have interaction with their students and finally teachers of sciences and mathematics should be ready to give writing and other language development activities for the minority students.