Synthesizing information from language samples and standardized tests in school-age bilingual assessment

Kerry Danahy Ebert, Giang Pham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: Although language samples and standardized tests are regularly used in assessment, few studies provide clinical guidance on how to synthesize information from these testing tools. This study extends previous work on the relations between tests and language samples to a new population—school-age bilingual speakers with primary language impairment—and considers the clinical implications for bilingual assessment. Method: Fifty-one bilingual children with primary language impairment completed narrative language samples and standardized language tests in English and Spanish. Children were separated into younger (ages 5;6 [years; months]–8;11) and older (ages 9;0–11;2) groups. Analysis included correlations with age and partial correlations between language sample measures and test scores in each language. Results: Within the younger group, positive correlations with large effect sizes indicated convergence between test scores and microstructural language sample measures in both Spanish and English. There were minimal correlations in the older group for either language. Age related to English but not Spanish measures. Conclusions: Tests and language samples complement each other in assessment. Wordless picture-book narratives may be more appropriate for ages 5–8 than for older children. We discuss clinical implications, including a case example of a bilingual child with primary language impairment, to illustrate how to synthesize information from these tools in assessment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)42-55
Number of pages14
JournalLanguage, speech, and hearing services in schools
Volume48
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Data collection for this project was supported by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant R21DC010868 (awarded to Kathryn Kohnert), and manuscript preparation was supported by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant R03DC013760 (awarded to Kerry Danahy Ebert). Portions of the analysis were presented in an unpublished master's thesis by Angela Mammolito. We thank Kathryn Ficho and Andrea Morales for assistance with languagesample analysis, as well as the many student research assistants who assisted with data collection for this project. The contributions of Jill Rentmeester Disher and the Minneapolis Public School District were invaluable to this project. We wish finally to thank the participants and their families.

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