Q: What is the age range of the BESA?
A: 4;0 to 6;11.
Q: How many children in the norming sample?
A: There are 874 children with typical development are included in the norms. A total of 420 children completed testing in both languages; 739 completed testing in Spanish and 632 children completed testing in English.
Q: Do you have to test in both languages on the BESA?
A: You can test in Spanish, English or both. Use the BIOS (bilingual input/output survey included) to determine whether to test one or both languages.
Q: How do I use the Bilingual Input Output Survey (BIOS)?
A: Use it to determine Spanish and English use at home and at school
Q: What’s the ITALK?
A: ITALK stands for Inventory to Assess Language Knowledge. There are parent and teacher versions of this questionnaire to identify areas of possible concern.
Q: Is the BESA normed only on Mexican-American children?
A: No, for Spanish about 16 different dialects of Spanish are represented; for English there are about 7 regional dialects represented. What’s more important is that we compared at the item level to ensure minimal bias on the basis of dialect.
Q: Is the pragmatics subtest normed?
A: No, this is done as an activity to gauge how the child interacts. You can use it as a warm-up and as an observation, and to supplement the standardized assessment.
Q: How long does it take to administer the BESA?
A: It depends on what you give. The morphosyntax and semantics subtests take 15-20 minutes each (per language); phonology takes 5-10 minutes (each language); and pragmatics takes about 5 minutes (you give it in one or both mixed depending on the child). So all together it takes about 1.5 hours to administer the WHOLE thing in BOTH languages.
Q: Are the subtests the same in each language?
A: No. We designed the test using a “dual-focus” approach where we used a test blueprint and generated items for each language based on the markers, structure, and culture of that language.
Q: Do you allow for codeswitching on the BESA?
A: Yes, on pragmatics and semantics children can respond in either language.
Q: What kind of scores do you get from the BESA?
A: Raw scores are converted to standard scores for each subtest and to age-equivalents. For the morphosyntax the cloze and sentence repetition subsections yield scaled scores which are summed before looking up the standard score that corresponds to the sum. For semantics, there are receptive and expressive subscores that are converted to scaled scores. These are summed and converted to a standard score. The best (Spanish or English) morphosyntax and best (Spanish or English) semantics standard scores are combined for a language index.

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  1. #1 by Lindsey on November 8, 2019 - 8:20 am

    Love the BESA! Just to double check – can the BESA be administered to a monolingual English speaking student with no Spanish exposure? Thank you!

  2. #2 by Elizabeth D. Peña on November 10, 2019 - 2:00 am

    We have given the BESA to kids who are monolingual English speakers (and monolingual Spanish speakers)– it does work for them and we can identify DLD using the BESA with this group too. Glad you are finding the BESA useful!

  3. #3 by Melissa on November 13, 2019 - 1:36 pm

    Hello – I also love the BESA and have a quick scoring question – suppose a child has a raw score of 0 on one of the subtests. As in, they participated and attempted to answer all items but still had a raw score of 0. The scaled score conversions only go as low as 1. So for a raw score 0, do we just not convert to scaled/standard? or use the lowest values on the scaled score page? Thanks in advance for any info, as I could not clarify using the manual.

  4. #4 by Anonymous on November 17, 2019 - 2:07 pm

    Hello – When converting scaled scores to standard scores on the BESA, I see there are ranges on Appendix E. How is it that you determine which one is the student’s standard score?

    Thank you

  5. #5 by Elizabeth D. Peña on November 25, 2019 - 12:05 am

    select the one in the middle– I think that these are bolded–

  6. #6 by Elizabeth D. Peña on November 25, 2019 - 12:06 am

    score it as a 1

  7. #7 by Liesl Fry on December 20, 2019 - 11:28 am

    Can the BIOS be used with older children (e.g., high schoolers) as well?

  8. #8 by Elizabeth D. Peña on January 11, 2020 - 8:19 pm

    I’m not sure, we are starting to use this with middle school kids, but we don’t yet know if it will work, I don’t see why it wouldn’t.

  1. BESA Research | 2 Languages 2 Worlds

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