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Assessing Language Abilities in Young Bilinguals: Parent Report versus Examiner-Administered Measures Open Access

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Abstract of ThesisAssessing Language Abilities in Young Bilinguals:Parent Report versus Examiner-Administered MeasuresThe course of language development among bilingual children continues to be challenging to describe and assess due to the heterogeneity among bilingual populations. This study aims to explore best practices for clinical assessment of lexical abilities among young bilingual children as well as the roles that parent proficiency in English and children's exposure to each language play in accurate assessment of expressive language abilities. Results of the EOWPVT (Expressive One-Word Picture Vocabulary Test), the CDI (Communicative Development Inventories), its Spanish counterpart, the IDHC (Inventario del Desarrollo de Habilidades Comunicativas), children's percent exposure to English, and parent proficiency in English of 46 Spanish-English bilingual children at 30-months were examined using hierarchical multiple regression analysis. Results indicated that parents with low English proficiency underestimated their children's expressive vocabularies using English and composite English-Spanish measures. Adjusting composite vocabulary scores to account for low English proficiency resulted in a decreased number of children scoring below a conservative clinical cut-point for risk of language delay. Findings support previous research that relative exposure influences lexical development of young bilinguals and highlights the importance of developing assessment norms that represent varying degrees of language exposure. Furthermore, proficiency and exposure are critical to consider during assessment of dual language learners and classifying bilingual children as developing within a normal or delayed trajectory.

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