TSE bias concerns raised

By Nancy Broten

The Student Committee On Political Action discussed plans Wednesday to check into the methods NIU’s Graduate Council uses to determine who will be required to take the Test of Spoken English, a fluency test given to foreign individuals seeking positions as teacher’s assistant’s.

A Bulletin of Information for Test of English as a Foreign Language states, “The major purpose of the TSE is to evaluate the spoken English poficincy of people whose native language is not English.”

Kuzma said foreign individuals applying for TA positions can be grouped into three categories: those who speak English very well, those with heavy accents but still understandable and those who are very difficult to understand, of which there are only a handful at NIU, he said.

Kuzma said his concern is whether equal opportunity and anti-discrimination acts will be violated when the council decides which of these categories will be required to take the exam. “If you have an applicant pool, each applicant has to be subjected to the same test,” he said.

“If they (Graduate Council) are only testing one group, then that is discrimination – violation of the Equal Opportunity Act,” Kuzma said.

Graduate shcool Dean Jerold Zar said he hoped the decision about who will be required o take the exam would be made at the next council meeting early in December.

Another plan discussed at the meeting was for a food drive to benefit the DeKalb area. John Lennon Society member John Potwora brought up the plan, from local restaurants willing to donate food items of which they have an over-supply.