Cultural Bias within Curriculum


CulturalBias within Curriculum

StateDepartment of Education


NewYork City-10001,

4thSeptember, 2016.



Iam writing to draw your attention to the effects of cultural biaswithin the curriculum. For purposes of comprehending the issue, itwill be important for me to address various points. First, I will usean example of research-supported cultural bias. Second, I willdescribe how the problem adversely impacts the test scores of EnglishLanguage Learners. Third, I will illustrate the essence ofeducational items to be liberated of such bias. Finally, I willexplain the importance of using Gardner’s theory of multipleintelligence when designing curriculum.

AnExample of Research-Supported Cultural Bias within the Curriculum

Aclear instance of cultural bias in teaching and thinking can belocated in the work of Delpit and Perry. They reported a paper inwhich the response to test objects of students of African-Americanorigin were reviewed. A single test item revealed a person in a suitholding a briefcase. Students in the research were required to pointout the man’s destination in the picture. Perry and Delpit sidedwith majority students who said that he was going to work or abusiness meeting (Delpit &amp Dowdy, 2013). Nonetheless, it wasdisclosed that a significant proportion of African Americans presumedthat he was going to the chapel. Their answer was indeed an explicitexpression of their cultural background, that is, men wearing suitsand carrying briefcases are generallygoing for a sermon. Besides, from a mainstream cultural point ofview, this response is considered wrong. For Perry and Delpit,nevertheless, labelling their answers as incorrect indicates a biastowards the conventional cultural value system. Moreover, itdemonstratesbias against intelligence originating from an alternative.

HowThis Bias May Negatively Affect the Test Scores of ELLs

Iwant to bring to your thought the fact that literacy is rooted incertain cultural values (Bennett, 2015). English Language Learners(ELLs) encounter intercultural differences based on traditions. Theirlifewaysand knowledge are implanted in cultural values and view things from adifferent perspective (Kaplan &amp Saccuzzo, 2013). For instance,the test by Perry and Delpit depicts variances in the cultureof students. Asa result, their responses may not besimilar to ENLs (which is deemed appropriate) translating to lowerscores and school failure for the minority.

Anothereffect from my research is that lowtest performance for ELLs can be due to cultural deprivation ormajority decision approach. Hispanic, African Americans,and Asian students formthe minority numbers in most schools in the United States. Therefore,they are viewed as inferior and their culture devoid of intelligencein America’s learning system (Kaplan &amp Saccuzzo, 2013).Surprisingly, these stereotypes are still present even today.

Finally,the American teachers are to blame for the poor performance of ELLs.They portray them as lacking sufficient knowledge on social andcultural issues,and therefore, their thinking is impaired. In other words, they donot have sufficient mastery of American heritage, and hence, the lowtest scores (Kaplan &amp Saccuzzo, 2013). Furthermore, educatorsemphasize on ‘what they cannot do’ instead of ‘what they cando,’ which negatively affects the test outcomes of English LanguageLearners (ELLs).

Applicationof Garner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences in CurriculaDevelopment

Thetheory asserts that people have eight intelligences,to a smaller or bigger scope, and that everyone has a diverseintelligence profile. It is based on genetics and experiences, whichmakeindividuals unique from others. They include linguistic intelligence,naturalist intelligence, interpersonal intelligence, intrapersonalintelligence, logical-mathematical intelligence, musicalintelligence, bodily-kinesthetic intelligence, and spatialintelligence (Information Resources Management Association, 2015).Embracing Gardner’s theory in the classroom increases productivefunctioning to students and teachers. Consequently, compared to thetraditional system of education, it offers a wider range of skillsand talents to learners. Because of this, teachers need to structuretheir presentation in a way that incorporates all the intelligencesoutlined by Gardner. Furthermore, no one is born without the eightintelligences.However, they come to class with distinct sets of evolvedintelligence.It implies that every child has a unique array of intellectualadvantages and weaknesses, which determinehow simple or complicatedit is for them to learn items when displayed in a certain way.

Adheringto the above suggestions will not only eliminate cultural bias incurricula but also improve the test scores of ELLs. Therefore, itwill be prudent for stakeholders to consider such points whenformulating a curriculum in a multicultural environment.




Bennett,C. I. (2015). Comprehensivemulticultural education: Theory and practice.Boston [etc.: Pearson.

Delpit,L., &amp Dowdy, J. K. (2013). SkinThat We Speak: Thoughts on Language and Culture in the Classroom.New York: New Press.

InformationResources Management Association,.(2015). Curriculumdesign and classroom management: Concepts, methodologies, tools, andapplications.Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference.

Kaplan,R. M., &amp Saccuzzo, D. P. (2013). Psychologicaltesting: Principles, applications, &amp issues.Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.