Differences in the Oral Narrative Scores of African-American Children and Caucasian Children
Boddy, Vanessa N.
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The current study examines possible racial differences between African-American children and Caucasian children in oral narrative assessment scores. Oral narratives are highly predictive of literary skills, and African-American children have been known to score higher than Caucasian children in this area, yet African-American children continue to score lower overall on reading assessment despite oral narratives being predictive of other skills. The continuous low scores of African-American children on reading assessments despite early high predictive literary skills point to biases in standardized tests and other environmental issues such as poverty. Caucasian and middle class being the standard, standardized tests are built to fit this mold, and questions are created with this standard in mind and do not take into consideration different backgrounds and vernaculars (e.g., African-American English) causing African-American children to fall behind as they do not fit into this standard. High levels of poverty within the African-American community also contribute to this difference as poverty not only affects where children go to school, but how their parents interact with them as children living in poverty usually have parents with laborious and demanding jobs. It was hypothesized that African-American children would score higher than Caucasian children on an oral narrative assessment. The null hypothesis was not rejected, as the scores for the African-American children (M = 20.64); SEM = .14) and Caucasian children (M = 20.61; SEM = .18) were nearly identical.
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