Bilingual Special
Education Evaluation
Criselda Guajarado Alvarado
1
Definitions
 Dominant
Language—the language
spoken by the student most effectively
and productively relative to his/her other
language(s)
 Oral Language Proficiency—level of the
student’s ability to comprehend and speak
a language.
 Primary language—language the person
first learned, or the language which is
spoken in the person’s home 5 CCR 3001 Definitions
2
Definitions, continued
Language—The term “native
language”, when used with respect to an
individual who is limited English proficient,
means the language normally used by the
individual or, in the case of a child, the
language normally used by the parents of
the child.
IDEA ’04
 Native
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Four Components of a Bilingual
Special Education Evaluation
 Gathering
of information for
referral
 Oral
language proficiency and
dominance testing in the
student’s two or more languages
 Academic
testing
 Cognitive/IQ
testing
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Gathering Information
for Referral to Special
Education Testing
5
Getting to Know Your Student:
Educational Background
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Previous School Information
Track down where student has attended
school since he first started.
Current & previous educational programs,
identifying all programming since student
started school (especially alternative language
programming).
Language proficiency testing (over time if avail.)
Attendance
Testing done by school
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Getting to Know Your Student:
Oral Language Environment
 Home
Language Survey
 Current
language spoken at
home
 Language
spoken with friends
 Language
spoken in community
 Language spoken in the
classroom
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Getting to Know Your Student:
Socio-Economic & Other Factors
 Pertinent
cultural and lifestyle information
 Parent information
Developmental milestones
Family history
Comparison to siblings
Significant family events
Significant medical event
Any other pertinent information
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Getting to Know Your Student:
Teacher Input
 Teacher
input on student’s language
ability in both languages
 Teacher input on this student’s
classroom performance
 Referral concern
 Other information
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IDEA ’04—SPECIFIC LEARNING DISABILITY
(A) IN GENERAL.—The term ‘specific learning disability’
means a disorder in 1 or more of the basic
psychological processes involved in understanding or in
using language, spoken or written, which disorder may
manifest itself in the imperfect ability to listen, think,
speak, read, write, spell, or do mathematical
calculations.
(B) DISORDERS INCLUDED.—Such term includes such
conditions as perceptual disabilities, brain injury,
minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental
aphasia.
(C) DISORDERS NOT INCLUDED.—Such term does not
include a learning problem that is primarily the result of
visual, hearing, or motor disabilities, of mental
retardation, of emotional disturbance, or of
environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.10
Case Study: Juan
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Student is 8 years old in the 2nd grade.
Student went to school in Mexico for PK and Kinder
Family moved to the U.S. and Juan was enrolled in
1st grade. He was retained and attended 1st grade
again.
Parents denied bil. ed. and ESL services when Juan
initially entered the 1st grade in the U.S.
Spanish is primary language of home. Mom knows
very little English. Dad knows a little, enough to
roughly communicate.
Student speaks Spanish w/ friends & neighbors.
Seems more comfortable speaking Spanish.
English has been language of instruction for last 3
11
years.
IDEA 2004, Additional Requirements
(3) Each local educational agency shall ensure that—(A)
assessments and other evaluation materials used to
assess a child under this section—
(i) are selected and administered so as not to be
discriminatory on a racial or cultural basis;
(ii) are provided and administered in the language and form
most likely to yield accurate information on what the child
knows and can do academically, developmentally, and
functionally, unless it is not feasible to so provide or
administer;
(iii) are used for purposes for which the assessment or
measures are valid and reliable;
(iv) are administered by trained and knowledgeable
personnel; and (v) are administered in accordance with
any instructions provided by the producer of such
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assessments; . . .
Oral Language
Proficiency and
Dominance Testing
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Oral Language Proficiency &
Dominance Testing

Formal oral language testing should never be the only
information used to determine oral language
proficiency and dominance. Other information that
may used include:
 Home Language Survey
 Teacher checklist
 Previous and current language proficiency testing
 Parent information on child’s language skills
 Student interview on language use and exposure
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Oral Language Proficiency &
Dominance Testing
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Oral language testing should usually be conducted in
both languages of the student.
Strive for parallel oral language testing because test
results in the two languages will usually be compared
to determine dominance.
Be aware that oral language tests may measure
different aspects of language. Some oral language
tests may measure social/conversational language,
while others may measure cognitive/academic
language.
SLPs usually test functional language, while school
psychologists test for academic language (different15
perspective on language).
Oral Language Proficiency &
Dominance Testing
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Interpret results based on amount and quality of student’s
exposure to the language being tested.
Determine dominance by comparing oral language totals in
English and other language. Administer cognitive/IQ test in
dominant/stronger language.
If dominance is unclear, analyze tasks by level of language
complexity. Determine if on the more complex aspects of
language, a dominant language is indicated.
If unclear dominance even after comparing the total scores &
looking at task complexity, consider administering the
cognitive/IQ test in student’s native language
Be knowledgeable about the second language acquisition
process. Interpret results in light of what is known about second
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language learning.
Oral Language Proficiency and Dominance
Testing: Tests Available in Languages Other than
English
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PLS 4 English & Spanish
WMLS-NU English & Spanish
WMLS-R English & Spanish
WLPB-R English & Spanish
Oral Language Cluster in WJ III and Batería III
CELF 4 English & CELF 3 Spanish *
____________________
____________________
* Use with caution. Can be used for proficiency testing, but not to determine dominance
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Oral Lang. Proficiency & Dominance Testing
Case Study: Juan

English Oral Language
WJ III ACH
Pic. Voc
75
Verb Analogies
82
Story Recall
85
Understanding Dir. 76
6-0
7-8
7-9
6-0
LISTENING COMP. 83 6-8
ORAL EXPRESS.
72 6-0
TOTAL
75 6-1
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Spanish Oral Language
Batería III APROV
Pic. Voc
85 7-9
Verb Analogies
90 7-11
Story Recall
102 8-4
Understanding Dir. 98 8-0
LISTENING COMP. 96 8-2
ORAL EXPRES.
93 8-5
TOTAL
94 8-6
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Oral Language Proficiency &
Dominance Testing

Once a determination and interpretation of oral
language proficiency and dominance has been
made, other aspects of the evaluation can be
addressed, including
the selection of appropriate tests and
assessment strategies to use in the evaluation
process,
language(s) and form to use with the student,
and
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Academic Testing
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Academic Testing
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English academic testing is almost always done
unless student is newly immigrated within the last few
months.
Academic testing in the other language is usually
conducted if student has been exposed to academic
instruction for one year or more.
If tests in the other language are not available or if
amount of instruction in the other language was
negligible, informal academic testing may be
necessary.
Be aware that academic instruction can be received in
other settings besides school. So even if student has
not received instruction in that language at school,
he/she may have received instruction elsewhere like
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home or church.
Interpretation of Academic Testing

Results from the academic testing are
interpreted in light of the amount and quality of
academic exposure in that language.

Be aware of the effects of different instructional
programming on performance.
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Oral Language Proficiency and Dominance
Testing: Tests Available in Languages Other than
English
 Spanish
Batería-R ACH
Batería-III APROV
________________________
________________________
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Academic Testing
Case Study: Juan

English Academic
Testing
WJ III

Spanish Academic
Testing
Batería III
BRS = 78
RC = 77
6-4
6-6
BRS = 75 6-2
RC = 70 5-11
MC = 99
MR = 89
8-6
7-8
MC
MR
= 99
= 95
WE
6-0
WE
= 65
= 72
8-5
8-5
5-9
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Cognitive/IQ
Testing
25
Cognitive/IQ Testing

Administer cognitive/IQ test in dominant
language of the student.

If cognitive/IQ testing is limited to nonverbal
only, be sure that this was because of a student
centered reason and not because it was easier
and faster.

Be aware of the impact of the second language
acquisition process on test results
26
Cognitive/IQ Testing:
Tests Available in Languages
Other than English
 Spanish
Batería
III COG
 Standard
Scale Tests 1-7 for very Spanish monolingual
students
 Early
Development Scale for Spanish speaking 2 & 3 year
old students or those who function on a 2 & 3 year old level
 Bilingual
Scale for Spanish dominant students who also speak
English
 Low
Verbal Scale for Spanish dominant students w/
documented significant language delays
 Extended
Scale (Tests 1-7 & 11-17) for more in-depth testing
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IDEA 2004, Additional Requirements
(3) Each local educational agency shall ensure that—(A)
assessments and other evaluation materials used to
assess a child under this section—
(i) are selected and administered so as not to be
discriminatory on a racial or cultural basis;
(ii) are provided and administered in the language and form
most likely to yield accurate information on what the child
knows and can do academically, developmentally, and
functionally, unless it is not feasible to so provide or
administer;
(iii) are used for purposes for which the assessment or
measures are valid and reliable;
(iv) are administered by trained and knowledgeable
personnel; and (v) are administered in accordance with
any instructions provided by the producer of such
28
assessments; . . .
…for a non-native speaker and for a speaker of
some dialects of English, every test given in
English becomes, in part, a language or literacy
test. Test results may not reflect accurately the
abilities and competencies being measured if
test performance depends on these test takers’
knowledge of English.
Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing
American Psychological Association
American Educational Research Association
National Council on Measurement in Education
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Cognitive/IQ Testing:
Tests Appropriate for Bilingual,
English Dominant Students
 WJ
III
 Bilingual
Scale for English dominant students who
also speak Spanish or one of the 16 languages in
the BVAT
 K-ABC
II
 Allows
translation of instructions & sample items (if
necessary) and acceptance of responses in another
language
30
Cognitive/IQ Testing
Case Study: Juan

Batería III Cognitiva,
Bilingual Scale
106
31
Evaluation
Personnel
32

“Best Practice” dictates that the evaluation
professional is fluent and literate in the two or more
languages of the student being tested. The
evaluation professional should also be
knowledgeable of cultural and linguistic issues that
can impact test results and have training on
evaluation materials and practices appropriate for
the culturally and linguistically diverse student. The
evaluation materials should be in the language and
form most likely to yield accurate information.
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IDEA ’04, Personnel Qualifications.
(A) In general.—The State educational agency
has established and maintains qualifications to
ensue that personnel necessary to carry out
this part are appropriately and adequately
prepared and trained, including that those
personnel have the content knowledge and
skills to serve children with disabilities.
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APA Standard 9.11
When an interpreter is used in testing, the interpreter should be
fluent in both the language of the test and the examinee’s
native language, should have expertise in translating, and
should have a basic understanding of the assessment process.
Comment: Although individuals with limited proficiency in the
language of the test should ideally be tested by professionally
trained bilingual examiners, the use of an interpreter may be
necessary in some situations. If an interpreter is required, the
professional examiner is responsible for ensuring that the
interpreter has the appropriate qualifications, experience, and
preparation to assist appropriately in the administration of the
test. It is necessary for the interpreter to understand the
importance of following standardized procedures, how testing is
conducted typically, the importance of accurately conveying to
the examiner an examinee’s actual responses, and the role and
responsibilities of the interpreter in testing.
p. 100
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Evaluation Report
36

Report
 Results
of the Home Language Survey
 Teacher information
 Language proficiency testing
 Parent Information
 Information from student interviews
 Educational history


Previous schooling in another country, including any interruptions
Previous and current educational programming, especially alternative
language programming
 Relevant

sociological/cultural information
Document
 Qualifications of evaluation
 Language(s) of the test
personnel
 Evaluation practices utilized
 Deviation from standardized
administration
 Consideration of the effects of environmental, cultural, and
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economic disadvantage, if appropriate.
Reevaluations
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
Some additional issues to consider:
Students who are in the second language
acquisition process can experience dramatic
changes between initial evaluation and
reevaluation.
Testing practices may have significantly
changed from the initial evaluation.
More appropriate and equitable standardized
tests may now be available that were
previously not available.
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[email protected]
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