Performance of Low-Income Dual Language Learners Attending English-Only Schools on the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals–Fourth Edition, Spanish Purpose The aim of this study was to examine the performance of a group of Spanish-speaking, dual language learners (DLLs) who were attending English-only schools and came from low-income and low-parental education backgrounds on the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals–Fourth Edition, Spanish (CELF-4S; Semel, Wiig, & Secord, 2006). ... Research Article
Newly Published
Research Article  |   January 12, 2018
Performance of Low-Income Dual Language Learners Attending English-Only Schools on the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals–Fourth Edition, Spanish
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Beatriz Barragan
    Department of Speech and Hearing Science, Arizona State University, Tempe
  • Anny Castilla-Earls
    Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Houston, TX
  • Lourdes Martinez-Nieto
    Department of Speech and Hearing Science, Arizona State University, Tempe
  • M. Adelaida Restrepo
    Department of Speech and Hearing Science, Arizona State University, Tempe
  • Shelley Gray
    Department of Speech and Hearing Science, Arizona State University, Tempe
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Beatriz Barragan: beatriz.barragan@asu.edu
  • Editor-in-Chief: Sean Redmond
    Editor-in-Chief: Sean Redmond×
  • Editor: Elizabeth Peña
    Editor: Elizabeth Peña×
Article Information
Newly Published / Research Article
Research Article   |   January 12, 2018
Performance of Low-Income Dual Language Learners Attending English-Only Schools on the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals–Fourth Edition, Spanish
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, Newly Published. doi:10.1044/2017_LSHSS-17-0013
History: Received January 31, 2017 , Revised May 27, 2017 , Accepted October 10, 2017
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, Newly Published. doi:10.1044/2017_LSHSS-17-0013
History: Received January 31, 2017; Revised May 27, 2017; Accepted October 10, 2017

Purpose The aim of this study was to examine the performance of a group of Spanish-speaking, dual language learners (DLLs) who were attending English-only schools and came from low-income and low-parental education backgrounds on the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals–Fourth Edition, Spanish (CELF-4S; Semel, Wiig, & Secord, 2006).

Method Spanish-speaking DLLs (N = 656), ages 5;0 (years;months) to 7;11, were tested for language impairment (LI) using the core language score of the CELF-4S and the English Structured Photographic Expressive Language Test (Dawson, Stout, & Eyer, 2003). A subsample (n = 299) was additionally tested using a Spanish language sample analysis and a newly developed Spanish morphosyntactic measure, for identification of children with LI and to conduct a receiver operating characteristics curve analysis.

Results Over 50% of the sample scored more than 1 SD below the mean on the core language score. In our subsample, the sensitivity of the CELF-4S was 94%, and specificity was 65%, using a cutoff score of 85 as suggested in the manual. Using an empirically derived cutoff score of 78, the sensitivity was 86%, and the specificity was 80%.

Conclusions Results suggest that the CELF-4S overidentifies low-income Spanish–English DLLs attending English-only schools as presenting with LI. For this sample, 1 in every 3 Latino children from low socioeconomic status was incorrectly identified with LI. Clinicians should be cautious when using the CELF-4S to evaluate low-income Spanish–English DLLs and ensure that they have converging evidence before making diagnostic decisions.

Acknowledgments
This work was funded by Grant IES R324A080024 (awarded to Maria Adelaida Restrepo, Joanna S. Gorin, and Shelley Gray) and National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant R15DC013670 (awarded to Anny Castilla-Earls). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health or the U.S. Department of Education. The authors thank the schools, teachers, children, and parents who participated in this project.
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