Posts Tagged assessment

Testing Speech in Languages other than English: What’s the Evidence?

There’s a new paper out in AJSLP by Sharynne McLeod and Sarah Verdon.  I think it’s a great resource for those of us who do bilingual assessment. Additionally, I think it’s an excellent example of how to review and select tests to use for diagnostic purposes. Over the last 10 or so years, there’s been a growing emphasis on evidence-based practice in speech-language pathology. We can’t simply use the tests we’ve always used because we are familiar and comfortable with them. We need to be able to justify our selections, and make our selections based on the best available scientific evidence. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Bilingual English Spanish Assessment

We’re very excited to let everyone know that now, after a number of years of development and testing the BESA is available to speech-language pathologists.

WHAT IS THE BESA? WHAT DOES IT DO?

My co-authors and I developed the Bilingual English Spanish Assessment (BESA) in response to a critical need for valid, reliable instruments to assessment of speech and language ability in Spanish-English bilingual children. It focuses on children (ages 4 years, 0 months through 6 years, 11 months) who have varying levels of Spanish-English bilingualism. BESA was specifically developed to determine if speech and/or language errors observed in some young children were due to limited exposure to English or to a language impairment. We know that with time, children with typical development will learn a second language. But, at the same time, early intervention for children who have speech and language impairment is critical.

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Testing bilinguals in English: Do we get any useful information?

I think the title says it all, and it’s an important question. There’s no doubt that the best way to determine if a child has a language impairment is to test them in their language. For bilinguals, that usually means two languages– in the US context, their home language and English. But, there aren’t enough bilingual speech-language pathologists available nationally; and bilingual speech-language pathologists don’t speak every language represented by the clients in their area. So, one of the questions we’ve had is whether we can get any useful information from testing children who are bilingual in English only. The quick answer is yes, no, and it depends. The longer answer follows. Read the rest of this entry »

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BESA Fan Page

We made a BESA fan page: https://www.facebook.com/besabilingual

BESA coverWhen the test is ready to pre-order, when it’s published, or when we have other news we’ll post in the fan page. So, like it and you’ll be able to keep up with what’s going on with the BESA.

 

 

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Inspriation

From time to time (should be more often) I”m reminded of why I do the work I do. It’s so easy to get caught up with thinking about getting out the next paper, the details of the job, getting ready for presentations, teaching and so on that I loose sight of what I’m doing ultimately. What I aim to do is to make a difference in the every day lives of kids who are bilingual.

Today I got an e-mail from a bilingual SLP who had read a post written by Lisa Bedore and me in the Asha Leader, in which we argue that bilingual children need to be tested in both languages because they so often have “mixed” dominance. In my e-mail, the SLP wanted to know what measure we used to measure dominance and stated that in her district county officials wanted “score and numbers” in order to determine dominance. It’s so great when I learn someone is actually reading this work and trying to apply it in practice. This is exactly what keeps me going, especially on days that I’m feeling like I’m putting out this stuff and no one cares. Read the rest of this entry »

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Bilingual Test Development

Before, I wrote about different purposes for test development. Given those different test functions an implication is that the way we then develop tests for these should be different. Read the rest of this entry »

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Is the Grass Greener??

The workshop on assessment of bilinguals in Gregynog was really interesting. There were researchers, students, and practitioners representing several disciplines including: speech-language pathology, psychology, linguistics, and reading. They were from different countries including: England, Wales, United States, Spain, Ireland, Netherlands, Greece among others. Many of these counties have official bilingual language policies (e.g., the Basque Country of Spain and Wales). One of the things that really struck me was that the challenges involved in assessment of bilinguals are very similar to what we face in the U.S. Somehow, I’d always assumed that the Europeans had it all figured out, especially since bilingualism is much more common than it is in the U.S. Read the rest of this entry »

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New Book on ELL Children

The Guilford Press is releasing a new book edited by Marilyn Shatz and  Louise C. Wilkinson called: The Education of English Language Learners: Research to Practice. Lisa Bedore, Karin Boerger, and I have a chapter in it focusing on semantic development in bilinguals. Here’s a list of the chapter titles and authors (we think we’re in good company and we’re looking forward to seeing the book in print): Read the rest of this entry »

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So, where’s the GOLD?

Recently, I posted in my lab blog (or is it on my lab blog? I don’t know) about the challenges in developing a test for bilingual children. In collaboration with Aquiles Iglesias, Vera Gutierrez-Clellen, Brian Goldstein, and Lisa Bedore, I worked on development of the Bilingual English Spanish Assessment (BESA)– a test for Spanish-English bilinguals designed for identification of language impairment. The challenge that we faced when we began this 7 year project (in 1998) is that there was very little data on markers of language impairment in other languages. In fact some of this information had just begun to emerge for language impairment in English speakers. Read the rest of this entry »

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Analyzing Phonological Skills in Bilinguals: It’s a Buffet, Not a 7-Course Meal

I’ve often maintained that eliciting speech samples for phonological analysis (whether single or word or connected speech) does not take that much longer for bilinguals than it does for monolinguals (it is somewhat longer, for sure).  What does take longer, however, are the analyses of those samples.  Given that there are almost no standardized assessments for phonological skills of bilinguals, speech-language pathologists (SLPs) must complete a set of broad and deep analyses. 

 These analyses consist of both independent and relational analyses.  Independent analyses are those that do not relate the child’s productions to the adult target.  For example, the clinician should note the child’s phonetic inventory (arranged by place and manner or articulation) listing all the sounds that the child produces whether it’s produced correctly or not.  So, even is a child produces [t] instead of /k/, the child’s ability to produce [t] should be indicated.  After all, for this analysis, it’s what the child can/did do.  Other independent analyses might include:

  • syllable types (e.g., CV, CVC, etc.)
  • syllable shapes (how syllable types combine—CV$CV)
  • word length (e.g., number of syllables per word)

 Relational analyses are those that compare the child’s production to the adult target and might include:

  • Overall consonant accuracy
  • Consonant accuracy by sound class
  • Vowel accuracy
  • Error types using a SODA format: Substitutions, Omissions, Distortions, Additions
  • Percentage-of-occurrence of phonological patterns (e.g., final consonant deletion, stopping)
  • Intelligibility
  • Contextual effects (where does the error occur—initial position, final position, both?)
  • Stimulability (can the child produce the target after a model?)

 SLPs are often overwhelmed initially by the number of analyses I suggest, as there are issues of time and efficiency.  I understand and appreciate those issues.  These analyses should be thought of as a buffet.  Choose the ones that are most satisfying to you.  However, I believe that completing this array of analyses leads to more reliable and valid diagnoses and link clearly and specifically to intervention targets.

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