ACT Test Makers To Give Extra Time, Special Glossaries To Students Who Can’t Speak English

Eric Owens | Editor

Beginning in the fall of 2017, the makers of the ACT will offer U.S. high school students who can barely speak English the opportunity to take the ACT college entrance exam in Spanish instead.

“English learners” who attend taxpayer-funded public schools right here in the United States will now be able to take the ACT with what the ACT makers describe as Spanish “supports” because the test-makers want “to help ensure that the ACT scores earned by English learners accurately reflect what they have learned in school.”

The Spanish-speaking students taking the ACT will receive up to 50 percent more time to take the important test than English speakers receive, according to a press release sent to The Daily Caller.

Spanish-speaking test-takers will also be able to use “an approved word-to-word bilingual glossary” and “test instructions provided in the student’s native language.”

Additionally, the makers of the ACT say they will segregate Spanish-speaking students into separate rooms to provide “testing in a non-distracting environment (i.e., in a separate room).”

“Supports,” segregation and generous extra time will be offered to students who speak a couple other languages as well.

The perks “will be limited to students in” English learners programs “who meet the current definitions of an English learner under the Every Student Succeeds Act.”

The “current definitions of an English learner” are complex, but they basically amount to students who live in the United States and are learning English.

“We believe these solutions will help ensure that English learners have an equal opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned in school, leveling the playing field while not giving the students any special advantages” said ACT chief commercial officer Suzana Delanghe said in the testing conglomerate’s press release. “This change is about improving access and equity for students whose proficiency in English might prevent them from truly demonstrating the skills and knowledge they have learned. The supports are in keeping with the mission of ACT:  Helping people achieve education and workplace success.”

Delanghe did not explain how helping students get higher ACT scores by providing extra time, segregating them and giving them bilingual word glossaries will help those students once they enter U.S. colleges and universities — where extra time and helpful bilingual word glossaries will likely be unavailable on exam days.

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