BESA Research

I’ve been meaning to post some information about the Bilingual English Spanish Assessment and we have. Here, we respond to some FAQs. And here, I provided an overview of what it does, how it works, and its specificity/sensitivity data. In addition to this information and what is in the manual, we have written a number of papers over the years that led directly to what we included (and excluded) from the BESA. So, below I will provide some of the links to abstracts of papers we’ve written about earlier versions of the BESA. These are the studies that we conduced to refine the items and the test so that the final published version has a high degree of classification accuracy.

Parent and Teacher Interviews:

As part of the BESA, we include a teacher and parent interview. The Bilingual Input Output Survey (BIOS) is used to determine how much the child hears and uses each language at home and at school. This information is used to decide whether to test in both languages or one language. The other survey is called the Inventory to Assess Language Knowledge (ITALK). Here, we suggest using this test to get systematic parent and teacher descriptions of how the child is doing in speech and language.

Guterrez-Clellen & Kreiter used early versions of these surveys and found that there was a significant relationship between how much children use each language and how grammatical they are.

Bohman, Bedore,Peña, Mendez-Perez, & Gillam looked at input and output in Spanish and English. In this study, findings indicated that input was more strongly associated with semantics, but output (along with input) was more strongly associated with morphosyntax performance.

Bedore, Peña, Summers, Boerger, Resendiz, Greene, Bohman & Gillam looked at the relationships between input and output and performance in semantics and morphosyntax at different levels of exposure. Here findings indicated that both daily use and exposure and year of first English exposure predict performance. What was surprising was that daily use and exposure are stronger predictors of performance than year of first exposure.

Bedore,Peña, Joyner, & Macken looked at parent and teacher ratings of their children’s language. In this study parents and teachers were both pretty accurate, but parents tended to focus more on meaning (semantics) and teachers tended to focus more on form (morphosyntax).


There are several studies looking at morphosyntax and the different kinds of items we developed for Spanish and English.

Gutierrez-Clellen, Simon-Cereijido, & Wagmer examined ELL and English dominant children on items in English.

Gutierrez-Clellen & Simon Cereijido conducted a discriminant analysis of an earlier version of the English mophosyntax subtest.

Gutierrez-Clellen, Simon-Cereijido, and Restrepo conducted a discriminant analysis of the early version of the Spanish morphosyntax subtest.

Across these studies, findings indicated that morphosyntax does a very good job differentiating between children with and without LI.


Peña, Bedore, & Rappazzo found that children scored similarly on a set of semantic tasks. But, there were differences between languages with respect to what items were more or less difficult.

Peña, Bedore, & Zlatic documented bilingual performance on a category generation task. Bilingual children tended to have relatively little overlap (translation equivalents). This finding led us to test whether conceptual scoring should be used in testing young Spanish-English bilinguals.

Bedore, Peña, Garcia, & Cortez found that conceptual scoring worked better at identifying children who are typically developing as typical.


Fabiano-Smith & Goldstein used the BESA phonology subtest to examine similarities and differences in phonological acquisition in Spanish-monolingual, English-monolingual, and bilingual children.  They show how the two systems influence each other in learning both languages.

Fabiano-Smith & Goldstein examined cross-linguistic effects over time in bilingual children using the BESA, conversational samples, and narrative samples.

Fabiano-Smith & Goldstein looked at development of early- middle- and late-developing sounds in monolingual and bilingual children.

Goldstein, Bunta, Lange, Rodriguez, and Burrows  looked at the relationship between parent report and speech sound accuracy.

Solaman, Bedore, & Peña examined at the relationship between phonological accuracy and production of morphosyntax measures using the BESA and language samples.

Fabiano-Smith, Shuriff, Barlow, & Goldstein examined dialect use in the speech of Puerto Rican Spanish-English bilingual children.

Rsearch using or citing the BESA:

There are a number of folks who used the BESA in their research prior to publication, or who have included results from the BESA in their analyses. Here is a partial list of those studies:

Hambly, Wren, McLeod, & Roulstone conducted a systematic review of studies of speech sound acquisition in bilinguals.

Restrepo, Morgan & Thompson used subtests of the BESA to look at the effects of 4 different interventions for ELLs.

Anthony, Aghara, Solari, Dunkelberger, Williams, & Liang used the phonology subtest of BESA as one of their measures to examine phonological representations in Spanish-speaking preschool children.

I know there are other studies and if you did a study using the BESA, I am happy to add it here. Just drop me an e-mail: I’ll keep adding things as I find them.

And, if you want to BUY the BESA, you can ORDER IT from BROOKES.


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