Assessment of Bilingual Children

Accurate assessment of bilingual children is a challenge for educators including speech-language pathologists all over the world. When children have exposure to more than one language it might be difficult to know if low language and reading scores are due to lack of enough experience in the language tested or if these are indicative of a language impairment or language based reading delay. A number of research groups all over the world have been working on this problem for a number of years. Three years ago I participated in a workshop on bilingualism in Wales. A two-volume book, in part, is the current product of that workshop. For those who buy the pair, currently there is a discount offered.

We (Peña, Bedore, & Fiestas) have a chapter in the Solutions volume where we use development of the BESA-ME (Bilingual English Spanish Assessment-Middle Elementary) semantics subtest. Based on Spanish-English bilinguals we outline how to select appropriate items depending on the natures of the assessment and illustrate the principles through selection of different items using different approaches and comparing these.

Other chapters address similar issues and solutions with different language pairs including: Demotic Greek-Cypriot Greek; Welsh-English, Irish-English, French-English, Basque-Spanish among others. Populations include young children through elementary age children.

The solutions are creative, data-based, and based in research. The table of contents for the solutions book is here. Check it out.

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  1. #1 by Anonymous on November 8, 2013 - 8:15 am

    Where can we purchase the BESA?

  2. #2 by Elizabeth D. Peña on November 10, 2013 - 8:10 pm

    This is the publisher’s website:

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