A student may not want to test for bilingualism for a few reasons. First, they may not be confident about their level of fluency. The good news is that testing allows students to earn a range of credits, so they may get partial credit, if not full. Please make sure that if your student has some fluency and literacy skills, they understand they may still earn a few credits, if not the full four.
Some students struggle with maintaining their cultural identity while trying to fit in at a new school or in the country. Whether or not they choose to test for World Language Credits, you can create great impact on them by recognizing, celebrating, and encouraging them to maintain their bilingualism. We are finding that educators have a massive impact on whether families decide to maintain home language. Our encouragement can make the difference between languages becoming extinct and directly affect how much pride students retain in who they are and where they come from.
Now that we understand that maintaining home language doesn’t hurt and may even help their ability to learn English, we must urgently encourage students who speak multiple languages to do their best to maintain them. This message must be shared with students and parents alike. Parents are following your lead on what to do for their student’s best interest. Now that we understand that speaking home language is to the student’s best interest, it is important to support students AND parents with this message. Parents will always look to you for guidance on what to do at home to make their child academically successful. Tell them: Speak your language!