Monday, March 07, 2011

pushing my buttons


this week, sabin's class it set to participate in the PIRLS study - an international study on reading levels in the fourth grade.  after reading both the danish university that is behind it here and the PIRLS site itself, i am no closer to an answer as to what the purpose of the test really is. there is a lot of vague information about how the information will be used to improve policy and decision-making regarding the education of children. that, i could support. but i wonder if that's it.

we received a questionnaire today that we should answer as parents in connection with the study. it's that questionnaire that has me worried. a few examples:

3.) which language(s) did your child speak before s/he started school?

i would be ok with that, but the answer choices are:
a.) danish
b.) turkish
c.) arabic
d.) serbo-croatian/bosnian
e.) punjabi (is that even a language? isn't it a place?)
f.) other

the same languages are listed under the question of "what language does the child's father/mother primarily speak?" are these particular languages politically motivated? and to what end?

and i have to say that with all of the news of late of the crimes and misdemeanors of the Danish Integration Ministry, i am concerned about the purpose of these questions. those languages were clearly deliberately chosen and i'd like to know by whom and why? those cannot possibly be the languages universal to the international version of the test. so to what purpose do they want to know about those particular languages? by participating, do we contribute to further tightening of the noose around foreigners?

i don't want to be one of those uncooperative parents, but seriously, shouldn't we have more information about what we're contributing to? what purpose it will serve? and who has ordered it? i think we all need to get better at questioning authority. and i'm starting here.

11 comments:

Abigail said...

I don't know all the issues here, but those do not seem like universal test language options! If the test were truly universal, they would probably have larger groups, as in, not punjabi, but asian languages or something.

Maria-Thérèse ~ www.afiori.com said...

oh no no no -
not improving Denmark's reputation one bit! :-S

Elizabeth said...

That is a very BIG button which serves no reading purpose, in my humble opinion.

Lorac said...

It is so imperative to question your child's schooling and the testing that goes with it. In Grade 4 here we have a reading test too. The idea is to ensure that the children are being taught appropriately for that age group and their skills are up to par. It helps to regulate the teaching curriculum and the teachers.

kristina said...

can't it be that those are the most common second languages spoken by children in danish schools? just guessing but it doesn't seem to improbable.
still, though, you're right to question the purpose.

Jess said...

I like that you think like this. Makes the world seem a little less discouraging.
Thank you for that.

christelle said...

I'm afraid , considering the way the politic about foreigners ( and here I mean non WASP ones) is in Dk , that we both have the answer to your question .
I'm really ( I mean REALLY) often angry when I see the way people ( who strangely enough speaks the language from your list !!) are treated here , by the government first , and by the natives too .
Don't forget that the extreme right party has an important place here . It's thx to this party that the conservative government we have now has been elected !
Chwille

mrs mediocrity said...

I agree, it seems really odd. Good for you for asking the right questions.

Writer Lady said...

Bad form they gave you. They want those answers, but they aren't the right answers. Maybe you should write in the correct answers and explain at the bottom why you did it.

Or are they too rigid for that?

Char said...

maybe it was a search for the more obscure? :) *shrugs*

Jude Doyland said...

OMG! I am glad your alarm bells are ringing for they should. That is not a neutral questionnaire nor neutral questions. Election now please!