Bilingual Diagnostician Expert Leaving A Legacy On Texas Education
Oct. 22, 2020
SHSU Media Contact: Wes Hamilton
Corinna Villar Cole, associate professor in the College of Education, came to Sam Houston State University to make a difference in the lives of underserved Texans. In 2012, Cole began the Bilingual Diagnostician Graduate Certificate program and serves as the program director.
The program seeks to fill the significant gap that exists in training bilingual evaluation specialists. These diagnosticians offer unique approaches to working with English Learners (ELs) and cover the administration of Spanish and English tests, interpretation of results, and ethical and appropriate recommendations to help students best succeed in the classroom.
Demographics in Texas continue to shift toward a more Hispanic population. Cole’s program at SHSU is the only one of its type in Texas. She explained that there is a growing need for bilingual evaluators in order to keep up with the growing demand of Texas’ bilingual students.
“The dilemma is that the population of children in this state who come from Latino backgrounds and are bilingual is growing exponentially, but the number of bilingual teachers and bilingual diagnosticians available to meet that demand is not,” Cole said. “We have grown a lot as educators, but not enough to cover all the needs of bilingual children. We at Sam Houston State want to help meet that need.”
According to the Texas Demographic Center, since 2010, the Hispanic population of persons aged 0-18 has increased from 3.4 million to 4.2 million. Projections from the same study say that population could reach 5.2 million by 2030, 6.6 million by 2040 and 8 million by 2050. In order to best serve these students, programs like Cole’s must grow, and fast.
“Teaching bilingual students through bilingual education is huge for leveling the playing field,” Cole said. “A lot of inequities happen to children in education, but without the proficiency in their native language and English even more inequities are immediately created. Students that are not tested properly due to a language barrier are left with a difficult educational journey.”
Cole sees training the next generation of Bilingual Diagnosticians as a legacy she can leave on the state of Texas. Graduates of this program are sought out by employers across the state and will go on to assist thousands of students in underserved populations in Texas for years to come.
“We seem to be a secret to so many people who do not know we offer this program at SHSU. We are a unique program, offering to train bilingual teachers to become bilingual diagnosticians. It is a two for one in that way,” Cole said. “Our graduates go to the top of the list when school districts look to fill these positions.”
To learn more visit the Bilingual Educational Diagnostician Graduate Certificate home page.
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