The State of School-Based Bilingual Assessment: Actual Practice Versus Recommended Guidelines Purpose This study was designed to investigate the frequency with which school-based speech-language pathologists (SLPs) used recommended practices when assessing the language skills of bilingual students. The study also investigated the frequency with which SLPs used formal, standardized tests versus informal, alternative procedures with this population. Method A ... Research Article
Research Article  |   July 01, 2007
The State of School-Based Bilingual Assessment: Actual Practice Versus Recommended Guidelines
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Lena G. Caesar
    Andrews University, Berrien Springs, MI
  • Paula D. Kohler
    Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo
  • Contact author: Lena G. Caesar, Andrews University, Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, Bell Hall, Room 157, Berrien Springs, MI 49104. E-mail: lcaesar@andrews.edu.
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / School-Based Settings / Research Articles
Research Article   |   July 01, 2007
The State of School-Based Bilingual Assessment: Actual Practice Versus Recommended Guidelines
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, July 2007, Vol. 38, 190-200. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2007/020)
History: Received July 31, 2005 , Revised December 8, 2005 , Accepted September 21, 2006
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, July 2007, Vol. 38, 190-200. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2007/020)
History: Received July 31, 2005; Revised December 8, 2005; Accepted September 21, 2006
Web of Science® Times Cited: 49

Purpose This study was designed to investigate the frequency with which school-based speech-language pathologists (SLPs) used recommended practices when assessing the language skills of bilingual students. The study also investigated the frequency with which SLPs used formal, standardized tests versus informal, alternative procedures with this population.

Method A total of 596 surveys were mailed out to school-based SLPs in the state of Michigan who were members of the Michigan Speech, Language, and Hearing Association (MSHA) during the 2003–2004 academic year. Of the 409 usable surveys that were returned, 130 respondents indicated being involved in assessing bilingual children and comprised the sample used in this study.

Results Results indicated that SLPs used formal, standardized English tests more frequently than informal assessment procedures when assessing bilingual students. Further in-depth analyses of SLPs' responses indicated that neither factors related to their years of experience or factors related to their academic preparation were significantly related to their use of recommended assessment practices. However, significant differences in use were noted based on respondents' employment settings.

Clinical Implications This study underscores the need for academic training programs and professional organizations to intentionally disseminate information regarding the expediency of alternative testing procedures. Implications for the adequate nonbiased assessment of bilingual children are discussed.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Data collection for this study was carried out in collaboration with Dr. David R. Williams of the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research. The first author would also like to acknowledge the help and support of her dissertation committee, Drs. Paula Kohler, Nickola Nelson, and George Haus in the carrying out of the research. A special note of gratitude is extended to each public school clinician who responded to the survey.
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