ERIC Number: EJ1092475
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Mar
Abstractor: As Provided
Assessment of Language Impairment in Bilingual Children Using Semantic Tasks: Two Languages Classify Better than One
Peña, Elizabeth D.; Bedore, Lisa M.; Kester, Ellen S.
International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, v51 n2 p192-202 Mar 2016
Background: Significant progress has been made in the identification of language impairment in children are bilingual. Bilingual children's vocabulary knowledge may be distributed across languages. Thus, when testing bilingual children it is difficult to know how to weigh each language for diagnostic purposes. Even when conceptual scoring is used in vocabulary testing, bilingual children may score below that of their typical monolingual peers. Aims: The primary aim was to evaluate the classification accuracy of two approaches (total semantics score and two-dimensional bilingual coordinate score) that combined lexical-semantic knowledge across two languages. We investigated the classification accuracy of the English and Spanish semantics subtest using the experimental version of the Bilingual English Spanish Assessment (BESA) with bilingual children with and without language impairment. Methods: A total of 78 bilinguals with balanced exposure to English and Spanish (15 with language impairment, 63 with typical development) participated. Children were between 4;0 and 6;11 years old. Discriminant function analysis explored the extent to which these children were accurately classified when combining Spanish and English subtests. Outcomes & Results: Discriminant analysis yielded above 85% correct classification for balanced bilingual children for both approaches. Conclusions & Implications: For the most accurate assessment and diagnostic decision-making for bilinguals, approaches that consider both languages together are recommended.
Descriptors: Bilingualism, Language Impairments, Vocabulary Development, Test Validity, Scores, Semantics, Knowledge Level, English, Spanish, Young Children, Multivariate Analysis
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
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