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Assessing the Writing of Spanish Speaking Students: Issues and Suggestions

Publisher: Boston: Allyn & Bacon

Assessment practices that look at second language learners only in English often underestimate the cognitive and academic strengths of Spanish-speaking students. If we are truly going to develop bilingual and biliterate students in our schools, then we must assess Spanish-speaking students in both of their languages. This research study collected writing samples in Spanish from students who are learning to read and write in Spanish; in English from students learning to read and write in English; and from students who had begun their schooling in Spanish but have subsequently made the transition to reading and writing in English. Results of this research, together with the dearth of research dealing specifically with the creation of assessment tools and procedures in Spanish, has led to the conclusion that English language writing rubrics must be modified when they are used to assess Spanish writing samples and when they are used to assess the writing of ESL students.