August 30, 2007

Simplify Forms

On our county's enrollment form the parent is supposed to answer three questions about the student's language background. Is language other than English used in the home? Did the student have a first language other than English? Does the student speak a language other than English most of the time?
This confuses the non-English-speaking parents and some of them leave it blank. Some kids who don't speak another language end up in the program because a relative living in their house does. I even had one parent write in that her kid's first language was "mama and dada." It gets crazy.
Why not just one simple question with a box to check? "Does your child speak another language?"
This isn't the only form that could use simplifying. I find them all day in all aspects of my work. It makes things harder for everyone.
If you ever need to make a form please make it as simple as possible.