Evaluation and Testing in Vernacular Languages

  • John W. OllerJr.
Part of the Topics in Language and Linguistics book series (TLLI)


Educators have long suffered from what may be called psychometrosis—a generalized uneasiness about tests. As John Upshur (1969) once noted, ‘“Test” is a four letter word.’ Educators worry about tests for many reasons. Some of their worries are well founded. Tests are often misused and persons subjected to them are thereby abused. Tests may sometimes be unfair and result in inappropriate evaluations that lead to incorrect judgments about students, teachers, and even whole educational systems. However, for all the potential damage of testing, the dangers of not testing are even more ominous. No one tries to run a business without some method of determining whether or not he is turning a profit. No one but a test pilot would think of getting into an untried model of an aircraft. Strangely, however, many educators seem to be willing to conduct school business without bothering to do sufficient evaluation. Questions such as, ‘Are the students benefitting from the curriculum?’ are shunted aside with vague remarks about ‘political realities’, ‘the infinitely many and varied factors that enter into school performance’, and ‘the uncontrollable socioeconomic variables’, etc. All of this argumentation is offered by clever administrators and bureaucrats who are trying to continue to dodge the issue: they are making excuses for not having done the sensible sorts of testing and evaluation that are essential to the whole process of education. Perhaps some of them are sincere pedagogues who have merely been deceived into thinking that their psychometrosis is entirely reasonable—sufficiently so as to make flying blind and without instruments a rational alternative. Indeed, many educators seem to think it is the only alternative.


Language Proficiency Bilingual Child Language Disorder Majority Language Vernacular Language 
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  1. 1.
    Unfortunately, I have not been able to obtain a copy of the Rosier and Holm (1980) report in time to include the most up-to-date findings in this paper. Therefore, rather than rely on second hand information, I refer below to the earlier published report by Vorih and Rosier ( 1978 ). I understand from colleagues, however, especially Stephen W. Rose here at UNM, that the more recent publication only strengthens the earlier findings.Google Scholar

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© Plenum Press, New York 1982

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  • John W. OllerJr.

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