Assessing Mathematics Proficiency of Multilingual Students
The Case for Translanguaging in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Monolingual content assessments of multilingual students remarkably fail their most essential endeavor—to provide meaningful information about their content proficiency. Multilingual students take years to catch up with their monolingual peers in terms of language proficiency, and it is inappropriate to assess them using a language that they do not fully understand. Because multilingual students do not behave as multiple monolinguals, translated tests are not a satisfactory solution. Test developers should produce assessments that enable multilingual students to use their entire linguistic repertoires and engage in their natural linguistic practices. This study examines a translingual administration of a mathematics assessment in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The findings show that a translingual administration is more appropriate than a traditional administration. The findings, however, raise doubts about standardization and call for further deliberation on how to properly assess mathematics in similar contexts.