Culture

Some People Are Attempting To Discredit A Student’s Recent Perfect Score On A Spanish AP Exam Because He Is Latino

For those that believe Latinos automatically do well in Spanish class think again. The Spanish language among Latinos continues to decline. According to Pew Research, 73 percent of Latinos spoke Spanish at home in 2015, which has dropped from 78 percent in 2006. That’s to say, the younger generation of Latinos do not go hand-in-hand with Spanish as it is believed to be, and that’s what makes this story so extraordinary.

A 17-year-old Chicago student got a perfect score on his Spanish AP exam.

Before you think, well, of course, he got a perfect score, he’s Latino. That assumption that young Latinos understand Spanish and write it perfectly is entirely ridiculous. Speaking Español with mom and dad is not the same as writing comprehension in Spanish.

Out of 189,658 students, Arturo Ballesteros from Chicago was one of 100 to get a perfect score.

“I saw I had gotten a perfect score and was like, ‘Oh my God,’” the high school junior told NBC News. “I was blown out of the water.”

Ballesteros was in shock because he didn’t believe he did that well on the test.

“On some of the sections, I felt like I could’ve done better,” he told the Chicago Sun-Times.

His teacher, Benita Arguellez at Back of the Yards College Prep and Principal Patricia Brekke, knew Ballesteros had it in him.

“He has an incredible level of humility,” Brekke told the Chicago Sun-Times. “Yes, he’s incredibly smart, we all know that. But he’s a really good person, and that’s what makes him great.”

“Everything comes natural to him. He’s able to elaborate with the richest vocabulary,” Arguellez added.

So what exactly does this Spanish AP test cover? Lots.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the exam includes 65 multiple choice questions, a written persuasive essay that must outline “the value of digital library resources over physical texts,” a business email response, “an impromptu two-minute presentation comparing the cultural norms around keeping pets in Mexico and the United States, and discuss the merits of a career in law with a hypothetical acquaintance. All in conversational, college-level Spanish.” Holy cow.

Ballesteros credits embracing his Latino culture and the Spanish language for his perfect score, and of course, his parents.

“Spanish is a really great language. It’s the second most spoken language in the world,” Ballesteros told NBC News. “So I would say to students and young people who come from Spanish-speaking families to embrace that and learn from a young age, because it will be useful in your professional and academic life.”

He added that it is because of his parents that he will hopefully attend the University of Chicago when he graduates.

“I told my parents because I owe my accomplishments to them, but I don’t like to randomly talk about myself like that or come off as arrogant.”

We love that humility! Congrats, Arturo!

READ: Texas Official Under Fire For Telling Latina County Judge To “Speak English”

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Trump Won’t Shut Up About Acing A Cognitive Test, But Just How Difficult Is The Test?

Things That Matter

Trump Won’t Shut Up About Acing A Cognitive Test, But Just How Difficult Is The Test?

Paul DeLaney / Getty Images

Looking back at my days back in school, I remember plenty of kids who bragged about their IQ results or how they’re smarter than everyone else. They wanted everyone to know they were a genius and that they had the hard data to prove it. I don’t remember ever taking an IQ test and I was always skeptical of those kids who said they were. I mean who’s parents had the time to be dragging their kids off to tests that in reality mean very little?

So when Trump claimed in an interview this week that he “aced” a “very hard” cognitive test, I couldn’t help but look back at my high school days. But I also wondered, “How hard could this mysterious cognitive test really be?”

Well, here’s a hint: it’s ridiculously easy.

Trump says he aced a cognitive test but what exactly does that mean?

On Fox News Sunday, in an interview with Chris Wallace, President Trump bragged about acing a test that proves just how incredible and smart he is. There’s only one issue – it’s not an IQ test and it’s not meant to be difficult unless you suffer from a cognitive disability.

Also, once again Trump blatantly lied about the test and what it is. He said he “answered all 35 questions correctly” on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment, which actually has just 30 questions. That means the president was giving himself credit for filling out the top five lines of the test: his name, education, sex, date of birth and the current date.

Though this shouldn’t come as a surprise from a president who has uttered more than 20,000 falsehoods or mischaracterized claims since taking office. Though with this particular case, it’s more likely that he’s misrepresenting about how hard they were, in order to look “smarter” than Joe Biden.

The claim came during an interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace – which was full of other interesting tidbits.

Not even including the whole cognitive test topic, Trump’s Sunday interview with Fox News was a doozy. Chris Wallace – the only slightly less bias anchors at the network – didn’t give Trump the softball interview that he was probably expecting.

Wallace challenged Trump on everything from his poor performance in polls regarding the November election – including one from Fox News itself – to his poor handling to the Coronavirus pandemic and racial inequality.

So what is this test Trump claims to have done so well at?

The test is called the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA), and was created by the neurologist Dr Ziad Nasreddine in 1996. The test was created to help diagnose cognitive difficuties in those experiencing some form of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Therefore, if you’re not suffering from either of those conditions then the test is literally meant to be easy.

Talking to MarketWatch, the test’s creator stressed that the test “is supposed to be easy for someone who has no cognitive impairment.” He also added that this is not an IQ test and has no bearing on how skilled a person is. Sorry to break it to you Donald.

However, Trump is right about the start of the test being very easy. But when it comes to the last five questions, his claim that they’re “very hard” is unsettling (although not surprising) in what it reveals about his relationship with reality.

Here are a few examples of questions on the test, how well can you do?

Lets start off right where the test starts off: with these simple activities meant to demonstrate your cognitive abilities. It’s not challenging at all, unless, of course, you’re suffering from a cognitive disability.

The first question involved drawing a line between numbers and their equivalent letters (1 to A, A to 2, 2 to B and so on). Then you have to draw a cube, and a clock at 10 past 11. I will say it took me a minute to understand exactly what I had to do here – blame it on not seeing an actual clock in probably years – but once I realized what I needed to do, it was done in a few seconds. Didn’t require no bigly geniusness to get it done.

This is supposedly the hardest part – according to Trump.

In Trump’s interview with Wallace, the president bets Wallace that he “couldn’t even answer the last five questions” of the test. But for a mentally healthy person, the last five questions should be as simple as the rest.

The fifth-to-last question on the test asks you to repeat a sentence out loud, before naming as many words as you can starting with F. In the following “abstraction” section, you have to spot the similarity between different objects such as trains and bicycles (modes of transport), or a watch and a ruler (measuring devices).

Next, you have to recall the random words that were included in the earlier memory section. This may be the part that’s easiest to trip over. And finally, for the orientation part of the test, you have to … say what the date is.

The now infamous elephant question.

If you’re lucky enough to not have any cognitive impairment, this part is also easy. There are three drawings – a lion, rhino and camel. As mentioned, there are a few versions of the test with very minor differences – for example, the test Fox News showed during the interview had an elephant on it (you can see it here), but the latest test has a rhino instead.

If you’re interested in trying out more questions of the test, you can find the full version here.

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Trans Advocacy Group Establishes First Spanish-Language Trans Hotline

Culture

Trans Advocacy Group Establishes First Spanish-Language Trans Hotline

translifeline / Instagram

Trans Lifeline is a hotline for the trans community that offers resources and counseling during tough times. COVID-19 has really exposed the inequalities in our communities and the world is having to react. That’s why Trans Lifeline offers the first Spanish-language trans hotline in the U.S.

Trans Lifeline has helped trans people since 2014.

For almost 6 years, Trans Lifeline has been a place for trans people to connect with other trans people for help. The hotline is for trans people and run by trans people to talk about trans issues without unneeded pressure. The hotline also understands the strained relationship between police officers and the trans community.

“The Hotline was, and still is, the only service in the country in which all operators are transgender,” reads the Trans Lifeline website. “Because of the particularly vulnerable relationship transgender people have with police, it is also the only service in the country with a policy against non-consensual active rescue.”

Trans Lifeline hired T Peña to run the Spanish-language service.

Peña was hired to be the Bilingual Hotline Services Coordinator. The genderqueer Afro-Cuban told Trans Lifeline that they would love to learn sign language to better engage with their partner and younger child, who are both on the autism spectrum. Peña’s position will be to make sure that trans people get the access they deserve to local services and Trans Lifeline can accomplish that.

Trans Lifeline recognized a need for a Spanish-language option for trans people in need.

According to a report from the UCLA School of Law Williams Institute, 21 percent fo adults who identify as trans are Latino. Sixteen percent of adults identifying as trans are Black. White people make up 55 percent of adults who identify as trans. The high number of trans Latinos and Latinas shows a need to have resources for our trans hermanos y hermanas.

If you are trans and speak Spanish, there is a chance for you to help.

If you are a trans person who can speak Spanish, there is a place for you to help your community. The fight for trans lives is far from over as trans women of color, particularly Black trans women face disproportionate murder and violence.

If you need help, Trans Lifeline is here for you.

The organization is here to help. With more than 98,000 calls answered and more than $500,000 in donations dispersed to help the trans community, Trans Lifeline is here to help their community.

READ: Netflix’s ‘Disclosure’ Gets Honest About The Evolution Of Trans Representation In Media

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