Teachers who lack cultural empathy for the minority English language learners (ELLs) in urban schools may perceive those students as culturally deficient and in need of cultural intervention in order to be academically successful. The theoretical foundation for this study was based on the social development theory, which connects the cognitive development of children to their sociocultural environment. The purpose of the study was to examine the relationship between teacher cultural proficiency, teacher beliefs in assimilation, and standardized tests scores of urban ELLs. The research questions concerned the nature of the relationship between teacher cultural proficiency and the standardized tests scores of ELLs in the urban elementary schools and how ELLs perform on standardized tests when teachers promote dominant groups' culture and deemphasize minority students' cultures in their classrooms. A concurrent, transformative, mixed methods approach was used to examine the relationship between the independent variables (teacher cultural proficiency and teacher assimilation beliefs) and the dependent variable (standardized tests scores in English language arts [ELA] and math). A survey, utilizing the Cultural Proficiency Receptivity Scale (CPRS), was used to administer questions to 10 teachers. Pearson correlations of teachers' receptivity with ELLs' tests scores in the 2009 ELA and math were statistically significant' ELA and math test scores rose with the increase in the teachers' level of receptivity toward their students. The findings of this study establish the cultural experiences of students from poor and working class as cultural wealth that educators must utilize for students' academic development and as a way of helping bring about social change. In addition, the findings may also help bring about social change through cultural equity in pedagogy and cultural representation of ELLs in test items.
|Subjects||Language arts; English as a second language|
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