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Why Does It Matter If Your State Translates Its Parent Test Guide?

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Only 29 states translate their parent guides about tests into a language other than English, according to an analysis by Second Language Testing, Inc., a company that both develops and translates tests to serve English-language learners. The company reports its findings from an analysis of states' parent test guides in the January edition of its newsletter.

The guides typically explain state academic standards and tests to parents and give them advice about how they can support their children. They often include information for interpreting score reports as well, according to the newsletter. The authors of the newsletter contend that "if parents are unable to interpret the score reports to find out if their child is struggling, they may not provide or seek tutoring and other interventions."

Hawaii ranks first in the number of languages to which the parent guide is translated. It translates the guide into 13 languages, including Ilokano and Visayen. Seventeen states translate their parent guides only into Spanish.

The newsletter points out that some states that provide their tests in languages other than English don't necessarily translate their parent guides into those languages. Ohio, for example, translates its assessments into seven languages but provides its parent guide only in English.

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I'll bet many of the districts that don't provide translated information to parents, are the same who complain about the lack of parental involvement. It's time to decide on what exactly we want - for folks to read/write English? or for our students to do well in school? Why not demonstrate a degree of respect to parents by communicating effectively with them?

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