African American English and the Achievement Gap
The Role of Dialectal Code Switching
Many African American children make use of African American English (AAE) in their everyday lives, and face academic barriers when introduced to Standard American English (SAE) in the classroom. Research has shown that students who can adapt and use SAE for academic purposes demonstrate significantly better test scores than their less adaptable peers. Accordingly, AAE use and its confirmed inverse relationship to reading achievement have been implicated in the Black-White Test Score Gap, thus becoming the focus of intense research and practical interest.
This volume discusses dialectal code-switching from AAE to SAE and stresses the benefits and importance of African American students becoming bi-dialectal. It provides background theory and science supporting the most promising educational approach to date, Contrastive Analysis, a set of longstanding methods drawn from Second Language research and used effectively with students ranging from kindergarten through college. It offers a deeper knowledge of AAE use by students, the critical features of Contrastive Analysis, and detailed information about successful applications which teachers can apply in their own pedagogy.
Table of Contents
Preface 1. The Educational Context: An Enduring Black-White Achievement Gap 2. Research Heuristics: Study Designs, Participants, Data Collection and Reduction 3. Child African American English 4. Systematic Influences on Rate of AAE Feature Production 5. Students Learning to Code-switch 6. The Educational Importance of Learning to Code-switch 7. Factors Influencing Individual Differences in Learning to Code-switch 8. Programs Designed to Teach SAE to AAE-speaking Students 9. A New Evidence-based Code-switching Program for Young AAE-speaking Students 10. Summary and Thoughts about Future Directions
Holly K. Craig is Professor Emerita and Research Professor in the School of Education at the University of Michigan, USA.