assessment

Cozy up with some good reads

Dr. Brenda K. Gorman, Contributing Author

Hello everyone. I hope you’ve been enjoying the beautiful autumn and rustling leaves. Rustling, hustling, bustling – it’s been very busy around here preparing for multiple local area presentations and the upcoming ASHA convention on the topic of dual language learners (DLLs).  I’ve also been receiving many requests for recommended reading resources on the topic of DLLs, even a couple from physicians!  The interest is very encouraging, so I would like to share some of my favorite resources below.  As it’s getting a bit chillier, you might want to cozy up with some good reads.

Assessment Resources

Pearson, B. Z., Fernandez, S. C., & Oller, D. K. (1993). Lexical development in bilingual infants and toddlers: Comparison to monolingual norms. Language Learning, 43(1), 93-120.

Peña, E.D., Gillam, R.B., Bedore, L.M., & Bohman, T.M. (2011). Risk for poor performance on a language screening measure for bilingual preschoolers and kindergartenersAmerican Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 20, 302-314. Supporting video: Can Special Needs Kids Be Bilingual?

Simón-Cereijido, G., & Gutiérrez-Clellen, V. (2009). A cross-linguistic and bilingual evaluation of the interdependence between lexical and grammatical domains. Applied Psycholinguistics, 30, 315-337.

Williams, C.J., & McLeod, S. (2012). Speech-language pathologists’ assessment and intervention practices with multilingual children. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 14(3), 292-305.

Intervention Resources

Gorman, B.K., Brice, A.E., & Berman, S. (2012). Reading acquisition program for Spanish-speakers. Perspectives on Communication Disorders and Sciences in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Populations, 19, 49-57.

Lugo-Neris, M. J., Jackson, C. W., & Goldstein, H. (2010). Facilitating vocabulary acquisition of young English language learners. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 41(3), 314–327.

Perozzi, J. A., & Chavez Sanchez, M. L. (1992). The effect of instruction in L1 on receptive acquisition of L2 for bilingual children with language delay. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 23, 348–352.

Ulanoff, S. H., & Pucci, S. L. (1999). Learning words from books: The effects of read aloud on second language vocabulary acquisition. Bilingual Research Journal, 23(4), 319-332.

DLLs with Special Needs

Hambly, C., & Fombonne, E. The impact of bilingual environments on language development in children with Autism Spectrum DisordersJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders (Online First, 22 September 2011). Supporting video: Can Special Needs Kids Be Bilingual?

Kay-Raining Bird, E., Cleave, P., Trudeau, N., Thordardottir, E., Sutton, A., & Thorpe, A. (2005). The language abilities of bilingual children with Down syndrome. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 14, 187–199.  Explores the capacity of Down syndrome children to acquire more than one language. This research is noted by Dr. Brenda Gorman in the Grupo Lingua YouTube video: Can Special Needs Kids Be Bilingual?

Kohnert, K., Yim, D., Nett, K., Kan, P. F., & Duran, L. (2005). Intervention with linguistically diverse preschool children: A focus on developing home language(s)Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 36, 251-263. Supporting video: Can Special Needs Kids Be Bilingual?

Petersen, J.M., Marinova-Todd, S.H., & Mirenda, P. Brief report: An exploratory study of lexical skills in bilingual children with Autism Spectrum DisorderJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, (Online First, 27 September 2011). Supporting video: Can Special Needs Kids Be Bilingual?

Bilingual Children and Educational Issues

Age of First Bilingual Language Exposure as a New Window into Bilingual Reading Development, Kovelman

Menken, K., & Antunez, B. (2001). An overview of the preparation and certification of teachers working with limited English proficient students. Washington, DC: National Clearinghouse of Bilingual Education.

Rolstad, K., Mahoney, K., & Glass, G. V. (2005). The big picture: A meta-analysis of program effectiveness research on English Language Learners. Educational Policy, 19(4), 572-594.

Slavin, R. E., & Cheung, A. (2003).  Effective reading programs for English language learners: A best-evidence synthesis. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Center for Research on the Education of Students Placed At Risk (CRESPAR).

Compilation of articles, journals and publications regarding bilingualism effects on cognitive development and language acquisition and development

Bailystok’s research is referenced by Dr. Brenda Gorman in Grupo Lingua’s YouTube video “Myths about Bilingual Children”. Bialystok-references come from a compilation of sources of her work in this area.

Multiple articles addressing bilingualism from the Center for Applied Linguistics

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Are we reporting standardized scores appropriately?

Brenda K. Gorman, Contributing Author

For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.”
-Henry Louis Mencken

This quote reminds me very much of speech and language assessment practices for linguistically diverse children. SLPs may look for simple solutions to complex problems, such as relying primarily on standardized tests to evaluate the skills of English language learners. However, oversimplification of the process is likely to yield an inaccurate diagnosis.

In the 2004 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, an important procedural safeguard indicates that testing and evaluation materials “will be selected and administered so as not to be racially or culturally discriminatory. Such materials or procedures shall be provided and administered in the child’s native language or mode of communication, unless it clearly is not feasible to do so. In 2006, regulations further specified that evaluation materials should be administered “in the form most likely to yield accurate information on what the child knows and can do academically, developmentally, and functionally.”

Despite these safeguards, we are still seeing an overreliance on standardized assessments in English, even when test norms are not adequately representative of children’s cultural and linguistic background. Years ago, I remember evaluating an English speaking child from the Virgin Islands. The only English measures to which I had access were normed predominately on English speakers from the U.S. According to the test manual, a miniscule number of children in the normative sample lived outside the U.S. Therefore, I could not consider the norms adequately representative of my student.

What I would like to see in all reports is a description of the assessment measure that the clinician used with a statement about the normative sample.

For example, if I have a bilingual student and choose to administer the Expressive One-Word Picture Vocabulary Test-Spanish Bilingual version, I provide a statement indicating that the test was normed on children growing up in bilingual (Spanish/English) environments in the U.S.

Likewise, is an SLP is conducting an assessment of an English language learner and finds benefit to administering an English assessment that was normed predominately on monolingual English speakers, the SLP should be clear about this in their report. Such specification helps clinicians explain why it is not always appropriate to report the standardized scores. In the report for this English language learner, the evaluator could write “This test was normed primarily on monolingual English speakers; therefore, in accordance with IDEA’s policy on appropriate testing, results are discussed in descriptive format.

Again, I would like to see a description of the normative sample in all reports. Many clinicians are already doing this. I think this is a critical piece of our reporting practices.