Minority students – my opening shot

At my current school, one kid stands out. Everyone knows him. He is doing AP Latin (with me). He does everything, incl sports. He’s very popular and academically and artistically gifted. His favorite author is Dante!

BUT, some teachers say he has gaps in his English. His home language is Tagalog. I’m pretty sure he speaks it. Yet his English betrays no trace of an accent. So the teachers are picking up on subtle lacunae in his handling of English.

Question: how does this happen? i.e. what are the mechanics of failure to acquire all the bits and pieces of a language? How does another language in the home even when the subject himself is English dominant and spoke English from babyhood (not sure about that in this kid’s case) still manage to affect the English?

How does this affect performance? How does it affect the ability to test well? esp IQ, SAT, etc. tests?

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