Removing language barriers in learning assessments

Autor(es): Yue Zhao, Maggie; Huo, Shuting

Organisation(s): UNESCO Office Bangkok and Regional Bureau for Education in Asia and the Pacific

Date: 2019

Pages: 12 p.

Serie: NEQMAP thematic review


The Asia-Pacific region is linguistically diverse and this creates a challenge for equitable, quality education. Approximately 40 per cent of the population in the region has very limited access to education delivered in his/her mother tongue. This thematic review is framed within UNESCO’s commitment to quality education for all, and aims at addressing the following questions: 1) how to ensure educational assessment is equitable and fair for linguistically diverse students and 2) how learning assessments can be used as a tool to promote educational practices that directly address the need of linguistically diverse students. The findings indicate that embracing linguistically diverse students’ mother tongue in the learning assessment process is critical. This includes assessing students’ mother tongue language skills and proficiency, and considering students’ mother tongue language background when assessing skills in the dominant language. In addition, linguistically diverse students’ needs should also be considered in the instruction and assessment of academic subjects other than language and literacy.

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