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SPCL 7914: Bilingual Assessment Procedures and Forms

Open Educational Resource (OER) created for Professor Elizalde-Utnick's SPCL 7914 course.

Consent Forms

You must obtain parental consent to conduct an assessment. The forms are in English. If the parent is not a fluent reader of English, then you must translate the consent form into the parent's preferred/dominant language.

Conducting a Bilingual Psychoeducational Assessment

When assessing ELLs it is important to use an integrated approach to assessment that incorporates nondiscriminatory, nonbiased, and ecological frameworks in order to determine whether any presenting academic difficulties are due primarily to a language/cultural difference and/or a disability. The goal of such an approach is to gather assessment data from different sources and in different contexts regarding internal and external factors that might be contributing to the students’ learning and academic difficulties. One strategy for such data gathering is to use Hass and Kennedy’s (2014) RIOT approach, a comprehensive assessment framework that stands for record reviews, interviews, observations, and tests. Hass and Kennedy expanded this framework in their assessment of ELLs to include Levitt and Merrell’s (2009) “rule of two,” which consists of gathering “information from a minimum of two settings, two informants, and two assessment methods” for each domain assessed (p. 166). The RIOT approach should be expanded by incorporating nondiscriminatory assessment procedures such as informal assessments, clinical trials, curriculum- based assessment (CBA), and testing of the limits.

Excerpt from: Elizalde-Utnick & Romero (2017), p. 200-201

 

Step 1: Bilingual Interview (School Psychology & School Counseling)

Step 2: Bilingual Language Proficiency Assessment (School Psychology & School Counseling)

Step 3: Bilingual Cognitive Assessment (School Psychology only)

Step 4: Bilingual Achievement Assessment (School Psychology only)

Step 5: Bilingual Social Emotional Assessment (School Psychology & School Counseling)

Step 6: Linking Assessment to Intervention & Culturally Responsive Interpretation and Reporting of Results (School Psychology & School Counseling)

Step 1: Bilingual Interview Protocol for Gathering Background Information (School Psychology & School Counseling)

Interviews should be conducted in the interviewee's dominant/preferred language. Often, bilingual interviews make use of multiple languages.

Step 2: Bilingual Language Proficiency Assessment (School Psychology & School Counseling)

Language proficiency assessment consists of assessing oral language proficiency skills, as well as literacy skills in each of the languages. There are several steps to conducting a bilingual language proficiency assessment:

A. Interview regarding L1/L2 acquisition and background history; complete Language Interactors form (see Interview protocol)

B. Observe instruction and student’s L1/L2 usage in informal and formal settings

C. Assess oral language proficiency in L1/L2

D. Assess literacy skills in L1/L2

Note: for trilingual/multilingual students, it is critical to assess proficiency in all of the languages.

Step 2A: Gather Data regarding Second Language Acquisition History and Usage (from Interview) (School Psychology & School Counseling)

I. Conduct parent, teacher and student interviews to collect the following information:

     A.developmental milestones

     B.behavior at home

     C.previous education

     D.medical history

     E.history of first and second language acquisition

     F.acculturation data

     G.schooling history

          1) type of programs that the student has attended (i.e., bilingual and/or ESL classes)

          2) the quality of the programs

          3) the language(s) of instruction

          4) the cultural relevance of the curriculum

          5) teaching strategies, styles, attitudes, and expectations

II. Gather information regarding everyday language usage using the Language Interactors form from the Interview Protocol.

     A. On the Language Interactors form, list all the family members that the student lives with at home. Also list the  student's closest friends in the "Outside home" section.

     B. For each language interactor/communicative partner (e.g., mother) indicate where along the continuum between using L1 exclusively to using L2 exclusively (with using L1 and L2 equally in the middle of the continuum) the interactor's communication with the student falls. Use the letter S for the student and the letter X for the communicative partner (e.g., the mother).

Step 2B: Observe Instruction and Student’s L1/L2 Usage in Informal and Formal Settings (School Psychology & School Counseling)

I. Conduct a classroom observation for any evidence of teacher bias and/or ineffective teaching practices that might be contributing to the students difficulties.
II. Observe the student’s language usage in a variety of contexts, including formal (e.g., classroom) and informal (e.g., playground; cafeteria) settings
  • Complete the BICS-CALP Observation Form

III. Collect data from the student's teacher using the Student Oral Language Observation Matrix - SOLOM

Step 2C: Assess Oral Language Proficiency in Each Language (School Psychology & School Counseling)

The following set of procedures can be used,  whereby the ELL:

  1. provides natural and elicited language samples
  2. follows simple directions
  3. engages in a listening comprehension/story retelling task in each language

Use the Language Proficiency Assessment Protocol to assess the student's oral proficiency in each language.

Step 2C(a): Obtaining Language Samples and Assessing Ability to Follow Directions:

  • Natural language samples are obtained via conversation with the student in each of the languages
    • Assesses expressive language and pragmatics
  • Elicited language samples are obtained by asking open-ended questions regarding personal information (e.g., name, age, age, leisure activities at home, interests, etc.)
    • Assesses receptive and expressive language
  • Asking the student to follow directions assesses receptive language ability

See Language Proficiency Assessment Protocol for prompts and questions.

Step 2C(b): Assessing Listening Comprehension and Story Retelling Ability: 

  1. The examiner reads a story to the student
  2. The student retells the story
  3. The student answers listening comprehension questions

This is done in each language.

Step 2D: Assess Literacy Skills in Each Language (School Psychology & School Counseling)

Literacy skill assessment entails assessing both reading and writing skills in each language (See Language Proficiency Assessment Protocol)
  • For reading ability the following procedures can be utilized:

  (a) reading fluency

  (b) reading comprehension questions

  • For writing ability the following procedures can be used:

  (a) an informal writing sample (e.g., letter to a relative)

  (b) a writing sample that is more academic in nature

Note: Different passages and writing prompts are used in each language (the passages must be different from those used when assessing listening comprehension)

Step 2D(a): Assessing Reading Fluency & Reading Comprehension:

  1. The student reads a story aloud. Time and audio-record the student reading each passage. (Make sure the passage is different from the one used for listening comprehension.)
  2. The student reads and answers multiple-choice reading comprehension questions. Observe to see if student refers back to the story.

Step 2D(b): Assessing Writing Skills

Students provide two different types of writing samples in each language:

1. an informal writing sample

a. In L1 student writes a letter to a family member about school
b. In English, student writes a letter to a friend about vacation

2. a writing sample that is more academic in nature

a. In L1 student writes a 1-page essay about academic work (e.g., a topic they are learning in social studies)

b. In English student writes a 1-page essay about a different academic work (e.g., a topic they are learning in science)

This is done in each language.

Step 2D: Spanish Reading Fluency & Comprehension Passages (School Psychology & School Counseling)

Examining Receptive Oral Language Skills (School Psychology & School Counseling)

Use this checklist to evaluate the student's receptive language skills in each language:

[  ] Understands directions

[  ] One-step commands first, increasing the number of steps as appropriate

[  ] Understands a story (main idea, details, sequence, outcomes, cause/effect relationships, and inferences)

[  ] Understands academic vocabulary

[  ] Understands teacher’s discussion

Examining Expressive Oral Language Skills (School Psychology & School Counseling)

Use this checklist to evaluate the student's expressive language skills in each language:

[  ] Pronounces sounds clearly

[  ] Uses language to indicate tense, plural/singular, person, possession

[  ] Uses vocabulary appropriately

[  ] Provides meaning for vocabulary concepts

[  ] Able to categorize concepts (e.g., animal: dogs, cats)

[  ] Uses single words

[  ] Uses phrases

[  ] Uses simple sentences

[  ] Uses complex sentences

[  ] Describes events, pictures in detail

[  ] Describes events in sequence

[  ] Retells familiar stories

[  ] Retells unfamiliar stories

[  ] Discusses everyday events (games, music, home activities)

[  ] Answers questions (yes/no, where, when, who, how, why)

[  ] Asks question to request information and clarification

[  ] Takes turns during conversations

[  ] Maintains topic

[  ] Signals change of topic

[  ] Terminates topic appropriately

Examining Pragmatic Language Sklls (School Psychology & School Counseling)

Note conversation styles by examining the following:
  • Who started the conversation?
  • Is turn-taking age-appropriate?
  • Does the student stay on the topic?
  • What type of vocabulary does the student use?
  • Are responses appropriate?
  • Is production fluent?
Analyze communication functions such as:
  • Instrumental (student requesting something that is not visible)
  • Interactional (student interacting with others in social settings)
  • Personal (student naturally expressing personal ideas and preferences)
  • Regulatory (student in charge of others and interacting to achieve a goal)
  • Heuristic (student asking question and solving problems)
  • Imaginative (student making up a story or using fantasy props)
  • Informational (student communicating new information or gathering new information)

Examining Reading Fluency (School Psychology & School Counseling)

A. When listening to the audio recording of the student reading the passage, evaluate:

a.phrasing

b.how closely does student pay attention to syntax and/or sentence structure?

c.reader’s expressiveness

If the student rereads a phrase or sentence, the word grouping used in the first reading is scored (intent is to evaluate typical and spontaneous performance).

B. Calculate the student's reading rate

                              (60) (# of words in passage)

Reading Rate =       ---------------------------------------------------

            # of seconds needed to read passage

 

Oral Reading Rates:

1st Grade: 50-85 words per minute (wpm)

2nd Grade: 80-120 wpm

3rd Grade: 90-135 wpm

4th Grade: 100-145  wpm

5th Grade: 105-155 wpm

6th grade: 115-160 wpm

7th Grade: 125-160 wpm

8th Grade and Up: 135-160 wpm

NAEP’s Oral Reading Fluency Scale:

Level 4: Reads primarily in larger, meaningful phrase groups. Although some regressions, repetitions, and deviations from text may be present, these do not appear to detract from the overall structure of the story. Preservation of the author’s syntax is consistent. Some or most of the story is read with expressive interpretation.

Level 3: Reads primarily in three- to four-word phrase groups. Some smaller groupings may be present. However, the majority of phrasing seems appropriate and preserves the syntax of the author. Little or no interpretation is present.

Level 2: Reads primarily in two-word phrases with some three- or four-word groupings. Some word-by-word reading may be present. Word groupings may seem awkward and unrelated to larger context of sentence or passage.

Level 1: Reads primarily word-by-word. Occasional two-word or three-word phrases may occur – but these are infrequent and/or they do not preserve meaningful syntax.

Examining Reading Comprehension (School Psychology & School Counseling)

Scoring a Reading Comprehension Task

  • If the student answers the question correctly (by matching or paraphrasing the suggested answer), put a check by the question number.
  • If the student provides an obviously incorrect answer or says “I don’t know,” then circle the question number.
  • If the student provides a partially correct answer, provide a neutral probe: “Can you tell me a little more?” or “Can you say that a different way?”
    • If the student improves the answer after the probe, then give full credit.
    • If the student fails to improve the answer, then give half credit.

 

              # questions answered correctly

       Comprehension Score =      ---------------------------------------------

            total # of questions

 

Interpreting a Reading Comprehension Score

Independent Reading Level = 90-100% on a given passage

  • This is easy reading

Instructional Reading Level = 75-89%

  • This is the best level for learning new vocabulary and requires the assistance of a teacher or tutor

Frustration Reading Level = 50% and below

  • This is too hard for the reader

Examining Writing Skills (School Psychology & School Counseling)

Use a holistic writing rubric to evaluate the student's writing in each language*

  • Holistic scoring is considered a general impression score
  • The total piece of writing is the product, rather than a group of separate parts
  • Holistic scoring is considered a more reliable method of assessing student writing progress than the use of traditional standardized tests

Examine the student's informal and formal writing samples in each language using one of the following holistic writing rubrics:

9-Point Scale

9-8: Excellent paper. A 9 is reserved for papers that are nearly perfect in content, organization, mechanics, and language use. Both 8 and 9 are excellent papers in areas of form and content, with 9s being definitely of higher quality.

7: Still an excellent paper but not quite so well organized, creative, and articulate.

6-5: An adequate paper, but deficient in its organization, use of content, style, and/or mechanics.

4-3: A lower-half paper that is weak in content, organization, style, and/or mechanics.

2: A very weak paper that addresses the topic but is only loosely organized with serious faults in organization, content, language use, style, and mechanics.

1: A paper that address the topic but is disorganized, inarticulate, and full of errors.

6-Point Scale

6-5: Excellent paper. A 6 is reserved for papers that are nearly perfect in content, organization, mechanics, and language use. Both 5 and 6 are excellent papers in areas of form and content, with 6s being definitely of higher quality.

4: A passing judged adequate paper in terms of its content, organization, mechanics, and style. It may lack imagination and creativity.

3: A lower-half paper that is weak in content, organization, style, and/or mechanics.

2: A very weak paper that addresses the topic but is only loosely organized with serious faults in organization, content, language use, style, and mechanics.

1: A paper that address the topic but is disorganized, inarticulate, and full of errors.

*Use the same rubric for all of the writing samples.

Step 3: Bilingual Cognitive Assessment (School Psychology Only)

Cognitive assessment of ELLs can take the form of one or more of the following:

  • assessment in the native language
    • consists of using psychometrically sound, standardized tests of intelligence in languages other than English being administered by school psychologists who demonstrate proficiency in ELLs’ native language
    • It should be noted that ELLs are typically not incorporated into the standardization process as the norms of native-language tests often sample monolingual speakers from other countries
  • true bilingual assessment, a form of testing the limits
    • ELLs are assessed in both the primary language and the secondary language by a qualified school psychologist who is fluent in both languages, or a monolingual English school psychologist working with a qualified interpreter
    • A bilingual school psychologist is in the position to perform various tasks bilingually and directly observe and interpret cognitive processing behaviors
  • nonverbal assessment
    • An alternative to conducting an evaluation using a language-based test
    • Relied upon when there are no tools available in a student’s native language
    • Reduces the amount of language that is embedded in assessment phase by heavily relying on hand gestures and pantomime
    • Limited in that it does not predict students’ ability to manipulate language

 

Cognitive Assessment Recommendations

•Ideally, true bilingual assessment using instruments developed in the student's native language
•Avoid translating tests, particularly verbal items
•The increasingly difficult nature of test items does not generalize across languages
•Cross-Battery Approach, selecting subtests with:
•reduced linguistic demand
•reduced cultural loading
•Nonverbal intelligence tests
•Although bias is not eliminated, it is lowered
•They are still culturally loaded
•They are not language-free: they require nonverbal receptive language ability
•ELLs do not necessarily perform well on these measures (Kopriva & Sexton, 2011)
 
 
For Spanish-speaking children:
  • BVAT
  • WISC-V Spanish
  • Bateria IV Cognitive (Woodcock-Johnson)

For other language groups:

  • BVAT
  • Nonverbal assessment using formal tool (e.g., DAS-II Nonverbal Composite subtests)
  • Qualitative assessment of verbal skills (other than BVAT tasks)

Step 4: Bilingual Achievement Assessment (School Psychology Only)

Step 5: Bilingual Social-Emotional Assessment (School Psychology & School Counseling)

Step 6: Linking Assessment to Intervention & Culturally Responsive Interpretation and Reporting of Results (School Psychology & School Counseling)

Multilingual Glossaries

For multilingual glossaries and other resources go to: https://research.steinhardt.nyu.edu/metrocenter/resources/glossaries