White Privilege in Standardized Testing

The main type of testing education that is appreciated by larger entities and feared by students goes by a rather honest name: standardized testing. This testing requires three things: a sharpened number two pencil, a sheet of paper with bubbles representing the answers to the questions, and a native English speaker.

The most well known standardized test is the SAT taken during one’s Junior year of high school. This test is often the first test that reflects each student’s individual knowledge, and the scores actually matter. Compared to some of the other required standardized tests high schoolers take, such as the NWEAs or the NECAPs, which take the data from an entire school and judge the institution based off it, there is a pressure to perform well on the SATs if the student taking it wants to go to college. But several discussions with my psychology teacher, Troy Crabtree, led me to understand that there is an unfair advantage when it comes to standardized testing; if English is one’s strongest language, they will perform better.

As a teenager who is only fluent in English, I can say with surety that the reading and comprehension section on the SATs is difficult. Although I like to think I excel in English as a course, this test was arduous. It set up sentences in ways under experienced readers would struggle with, along with grammatical errors hard to discriminate. It is important to remember that the SAT is not offered in different languages. Unless the reader has a full understanding of English grammar, the language can be difficult to interpret.

The math section on this standardized test may also pose difficulties, seeing that the questions are in English as well, despite the idea that “math is the universal language”. If someone who was preeminent in mathematics immigrated from Africa recently, the odds of them doing well on the math section would be seriously hindered because of their language skills. Without an accurate understanding of what the question is asking you to perform, there is no way that one could adequately answer the question. As a native English speaker, I already found the math section on the SAT to be difficult and riddled with tricks. It is hard to imagine trying to solve the numerical pieces without the ability to comprehend the language attached.  

From a teenager’s perspective, it somewhat feels like the SATs, along with many other standardized tests, are curated to make students fail. Now, I doubt that is what the creator of the standardized test envisioned, but nonetheless, it is happening to students who are not fortunate, or privileged, enough to have English as their first language. If a student who only speaks English feels this way, it is hard to imagine how insurmountable the test must feel for a recent immigrant with English as a second or third language.

As a soon to be high school senior, I need to retake the SATs. Though I disagree with what the SATs, and standardized tests in general, I still will use the scores from it because I need them to go to college. In an ideal world, there would be no need for standardized tests, as students would be judged on their character and not their ability to sit in a room for two hours while forced to stare at a glaringly white piece of paper and bubble in their answers.

New life

 

      The past is the consequence of what we have done in the present and the future will be the result of what we are doing in the present,choices lead us to the future.

   Me and my family we made  a choice,and that choice brought us here.My name is jemima,and i from Angola,a beautiful country ,located on the South Atlantic coast of West Africa, between Namibia and Congo, a country that is wonderfully warm, with happy people who loves to dance, with beaches and forests, a country where summer is  longer than winter I would say that my country smells like the ocean.Where it is possible to find hawkers in every corner of the city capital, Luanda, small markets almost everywhere, with some paved streets and other not, that when the rain falls, makes a lot of small holes in the roads, streets that are always crowded with taxis of blue and white color, but what captivated me and still  captivates me in my country is the capacity of Angola to make anyone feel at home and get into the rhythm.And it is important for everyone to feel at home, and Angola makes everybody feel comfortable,because of the diversity of colors found in each corner, by the unique and exotic way of the Angolan movement, a joy that the people transmit every day it is unique!

was an easy and difficult decision at the same time, it was easy because we  were exited with the idea of knowing a new country outside of Africa, to see the snow for the first time, to eat the famous American hotdog, to listen to the noise  caused by the traffic in new York,i was amazed.It was a difficult decision because we had to leave our house, our old friends,stop going to our favorite places, say bye to the country that saw me grow, yes it was difficult because I didn’t know when I would go back to it, until now I do not know.

For political reasons, my family had to move, reasons that included my life and my family’life, before we leave, we spent some scary moments in which we did not feel safe in our own country,Fear of being killed, kidnapped.During all the time that we lived in Angola we created roots and friends, we were afraid of not being able to rebuild the same friendships and roots here.We made the decision to leave without even knowing what awaited us on the other side of the world, carrying with us only a few suitcases, which were full of hopes and fears, but above all joy, joy that a of the strong characteristics of the African people has always been the weapon of my small family, we were happy with the mere possibility of a better future.

as we arrived in the United States, we began our journey into the future, and the quest for much of our questions about how and indeed life as an immigrant. In the beginning it was difficult because we did not know the language and it was complicated to communicate with the natives, it was difficult to even get some answers. But it was also easy because around us there was always someone willing to help, using a translator of course!

we saw great differences between here and my country, one of them was the snow something we never saw, our first snow was a memorable experience! very different from Angola, in a short time that I live here I would say that the smell that identifies Maine is a mixture of cigarette and wood and that the sound that identifies is the sound of the wind on the trees.

we were very well received here, we met people with huge hearts and willing to help. We are rebuilding our lives here, learning every day, meeting new people, new places, and learning to see Maine as our new home.Maine will eventually turn to be our home, but Angola will always be our place, the land of our grandfathers, Maine will see me build a future for me and for  the peoplethat I love, but Angola saw me born, grow and leave.

Along my journey here I learned that each country is a country, with stories, adventures, culture …  to build a new life in another country we should not forget life in the previous country, but we must use all knowledge of the previous country for the new country, because no matter where we are, the land will always be the same, the air the same, the same souls, the same animals, there will always be music and dance, any country will always be a home.

 

A Mother’s Grace by Neila Claffey

You smell of strawberry lotion

Please play Joan Jett for me

Hips sway and legs bounce

It doesn’t matter if the CD skips

Starwars dolls and princess dresses

I want to feel needed

Hold my hand and love me tight

I think the monster is lurking

Wounded knees and jump rope handles

I can’t seem to be

You push me hard, but still stroke my hair

“You’re as normal as can be.”

Pills Pills

So many Pills

and all of them

For

Me

I can hear your heart ache and see it shake

The monster is awake

Blame Blame

You are doused in shame

Please don’t blame yourself

I have felt hurt

But you saved me from the sting

So please don’t shame yourself

Strong and willed

I hold the key

To my future

Who I will be

I say “I want my reflection to look like you”

And you whisper “I want it to mirror who you will be”

Tears Tears

Dribble down my cheek

Thank you for teaching me

How to be free

Shoes by Lilah Morrow-Spitzer

I watch everyone’s shoes

Making different zigzags across the floor.

I hear squeaks

New pairs dragged along the tiles.

 

I am pacing back and forth along the carpeted room.

My shoes are in the corner and I begin to panic.

I run down three flights of stairs and to the outdoors

Forgetting my shoes upstairs.

 

At my house I see a pile of shoes by the back door.

I enter the room to a group of friends.

A friend gets a phone call.

And I hear the

Click

When she ends it.

Slowly she slips her shoes back on

Drops of water hitting them from the river across her face.

 

Inside this strange house I see pairs of shoes neatly arrayed towards the door.

I slip off mine and add them to the collection.

Inside the house muffled tears come from every corner.

Her mother stands there in the center of the room

Heartbroken.

 

I go up to her room

A place foreign to me prior

As I slowly open the door I see her shoes lined against her closet.

Shoes that will never be worn again.

I smile at the photos of her lined against the walls that are speaking to me

Words that I don’t understand.

 

I get into bed with my shoes on.

Stained cheeks and red nose

I lay up towards the ceiling

Questioning everything.

Was she buried in shoes?

When will her feet hit the ground again?

Knowing that I’ll never be answered.

 

Dear Orthodontist, I Love You

Dear Orthodontist,

I hate you.

Not you, personally, I’m sure you’re a great dude, but every bite I take brings me great pain and I blame you entirely. Also, I’m really not about these off-white rubber bands. They make my teeth look yellow. I feel like you’re sabotaging the last two years of my education.  The dentist has never bothered me. In fact, I really enjoy going to the dentist. I figured the orthodontist would be the same but no. You are ruining my life. I have to miss school, all for you. I miss hours out of my day. I see you for maybe ten minutes, you tell me what I’m doing wrong, you tell your assistant what to fix, and then you leave. WHAT ARE YOU GETTING PAID FOR?!?! It is unfair to your workers and I suggest they riot. Bring chaos down upon you. I fully support it, I’ll fund it myself. I’ll run to Dollar General tomorrow to get poster board and decorations. And glitter. Lots of glitter. Good luck getting that out of your stupid waiting room carpet. You know, the waiting room where you keep coffee, fruit snacks, and granola bars. Even though we’re not supposed to have coffee, fruit snacks, or granola bars. WHY ARE YOU TORTURING US LIKE THIS?! *sigh* But, supposedly you’re fixing my teeth, so I guess I kind of have to love you.

 

Yours (with boiling rage,)

Olivia

P.S. I bit you in the 3rd grade when I had my retainer. You probably don’t remember because I stopped seeing you for about seven years but I want you to know that I regret nothing.

To Know What it is like to be from Oldest Child

The one that made many first discoveries,
But certainly not the last.
I’ve been the fuel, the mold
The one that is looked up to
The answer of all things
My life, they say, is perfect.
The everything they wish for.
But in reality, there is no perfection
All there is: almost, close, WRONG!
There is too much too worry about:
school, work, money, and me
They are the lucky ones,
Truly
No worries, no care
They are my wishes and dream.

True we are different
And live different lives.
We want to trade life styles
We want something else
But that is what completes us
A lessen I learned.

Hell Rise

The water ever so clear with a crispy after taste.
The land filled with plentiful trees and wilderness.
The bunnies hop and the birds sing to their heart’s content.
The flowers bloom and snow falls,
Here, in this forest is my vision of life.

But what I really see is so wrong!
The trees die,
The singing shrives to ash,
Burnt by lost hopes and dreams.
We the people of many lands-
Have caused many losses in order to “survive”.

I run, I run far,
Just like most have before me.
I am lost and far…
My hopes are slowly dying alone with me.

I see a hand; big and warm,
Heaving me up and standing.
The golden sun slowly fades.
The last dawn is upon me to give the last flare.
Am I ready? Will I regret this? Am I missing something?
I close my eyes with cool breathes
I fall into darkness, awaiting the final battle.
I am ready to fight for not only myself but many others.
I will win, we will fight as one, they will open their eyes soon.

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