Despite a growing number of bilingual children enrolled in Early Intervention language services, methods of administering language assessments to bilingual children are not standardized. This study reports clinically-meaningful differences in bilingual children’s receptive and expressive language outcomes when their language skills are assessed in the primary language versus in both the primary and secondary languages. Eleven Spanish-English speaking children (ages 1;11 to 2;11) with language delay enrolled in Early Intervention were assessed using The Rossetti Infant-Toddler Language Scale (Rossetti, 1990) in their primary language only, and then in both their primary and secondary languages. When assessed in only one language, bilingual children’s language skills were underestimated by 1.4 months for receptive language and 2.2 months for expressive language; language delay was overestimated by 4.7% for receptive language and by 7.8% for expressive language. Single-language assessments would lead to inappropriate Early Intervention referral for 3 of the 11 tested children. It is therefore suggested that assessing bilingual children in only one language leads to a significant underestimation of receptive and expressive language abilities and a significant overestimation of language delay. Consequently, the efficacy, reliability, and validity of the assessment are compromised and best practice as mandated by speechlanguage pathology certification organizations is not achieved.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Title of host publication||Current Issues in Language Evaluation, Assessment and Testing|
|Subtitle of host publication||Research and Practice|
|Editors||Christina Gitsaki, Christine Coombe|
|Publisher||Cambridge Scholars Publishing|
|Number of pages||17|
|State||Published - 2016|