Language
Language Acquisition
Proficiency Testing
Translators
English Language Learners
LANGUAGE ACQUISITION
Quiz (True/ False):
2nd Language Acquisition
• Bilingual education delays, if not prevents, LEP students
form learning English.
• LEP students have more oral-language special education
deficits.
• All bilingual education programs are the same; therefore
if they are in bilingual ed they cannot be described as
having “lack of educational opportunity.”
• You only have to test a child in their native language if/
when they can’t talk to you in English or if they are in
bilingual ed/ESOL.
Some Stats
• ~16% of LEP students
scored above the state
norm on English reading
measures
• ~30% of LEP students scores
above the state norm when
tested in reading in their
own language
• 8.7% of LEP students in
grades 7 to 12 had been
retained.
• Drop=out rates
– 24.2%: non-English
spoken at home
– 9.6%: English spoken at
home
– 17.6%: Students with
SLD
What are we asking?
The degree to which the ELL student’s academic
problems due to a disability.
vs.
The degree to which the ELL student’s academic
problems due to pedagogically induced factors.
LEP Instructional Programs
• ESL/ ESOL (no native language instruction
– Content-Based ESL/ Sheltered English
– Pullout ESL
• Bilingual Education (some native language instruction)
– Transitional/ Early-Exit Bilingual Education
• Usually last for 2-4 years.
• Initially use L1 as foundation and transition to L2
– Maintenance/ Late-Exit/ Developmental Bilingual Education
• Usually last for 4-6 years.
• Use L1 for longer time and for more than just language arts.
– Two-Way/ Dual-Language Bilingual Education
Bilingual Education
Two-Way/ Dual Language
• English as L1 or another language as L1 are
placed together (goal = 50/50).
• The goal is for both English as L1 and other
language as L1 will be bilingual in both languages.
• Program provided for at least 4-6 years (usually
starts at Kindergarten).
• Instruction is taught (goal is usually 50/50) in
both L1 and L2.
Research for Bilingual
Education
• Small scale (low number of subjects) research
tends to have different findings (pro and con) for
success of bilingual education.
• The only large scale study that did not find
positive results for bilingual education (over
ESOL) had serious methodological problems.
• One thing to note, even amongst the larger scale
studies, Thomas and Collier (1997) was the first
to measure students longitudinal success (see
next slide)
Thomas & Collier (1997)
Grade Level
An ELL need to obtain CALP in L1
in order to get CALP in L2
An ELL need to obtain CALP in L1
in order to get CALP in L2
An ELL need to obtain CALP in L1
in order to get CALP in L2
An ELL need to obtain CALP in L1
in order to get CALP in L2
Quote: Cummins (1984)
“Minority language students are frequently
transferred from bilingual to English-only
classrooms when they have developed
superficially fluent English communicative skills.”
English Language Learners
PROFICIENCY TESTING
Why Test 1st Language?
• To determine the appropriateness of the
child’s classroom setting.
• To determine the language for future
testing.
• To determine the impact that language
proficiency may have on testing data.
• To determine if the areas of concern are a
result of a real disability or simply a
reflection of the normal process of 2nd
language acquisition.
Same fact over and over.
• A true disability must be apparent in both
languages.
• You can not be disabled in English and not
be disabled in your native language.
• If you are experiencing significant difficulty
in English, this must be supported as
significant difficulty in your first language to
be considered a disability. You must take
into account prior academic knowledge of
L1 when considering this.
Formal & Informal
Methods
• Formal methods (examples)
– WMLS-R
– IDEA
– BEST-Plus
– WLPB-R
• Informal methods (examples)
– Basic conversation
– Observations with peers
– Interviews with parents and teachers
Formal and Informal
Methods Include
• Formal methods: surface components are
examined:
– Phonology
– Morphology
– Syntax
– Grammar
– Vocabulary
• Informal methods:
– Real-life use of language
• Use BOTH for a complete picture.
Testing should measure…
• BICS and CALP
• Measure both languages
• Receptive and Expressive
Skills
• Current language skills
(data more than 6 months
old is OUTDATED)
What is a good test?
•
•
•
•
Norming properties
Psychometric factors (reliability and validity)
Skills assessed
Theoretical foundation used to develop the
measure
• Extent to which the instrument incorporates the
language proficiency practices just described
Things to look out for . . .
• Translated into another
language, but not renormed.
• Translated into another
language with no concern as
to how item difficulty might
impact basals and ceilings.
• No norms at all
• Poor reliability and validity in
newly normed language.
• Only reliability and validity
reported for original language.
• What country were norms
generated?
• New immigrants or 2nd-3rd
generation in norming sample.
• Language testing incorporates
all dialects as possible choices.
• Tests are created in a manner
as to be culturally biased in
the questions asked.
• Looks at only one component
in language.
• Does not use authentic
language.
What do you do when no
good test exists?
• Use multiple sources of data (this should be
standard practice even with great tests).
• Incorporate informal and formal measures in your
assessment plan (this should be done anyway).
• Describe any significant weaknesses of a measure
in your interpretation of the results.
Two Respected Language
Proficiency Measures
• Basic Inventory of Natural Language: This test
can be used for more than 30 languages and is
used to test students in grades kindergarten
through 12. Students are shown large pictures,
which the students individually discuss orally.
Their taped explanations are then scored using
measurements such as sentence complexity and
length.
• Woodcock-Muñoz Language Survey-Revised:
This individually administered test is for ages 4
through adult and measures listening, speaking,
reading and writing skills.
http://spanish.about.com/library/questions/blq-fluencytests.htm
WMLS-R: Provides CALP
CALP score:
– 1 = negligible
– 2 = very limited
– 3 = limited
– 4 = fluent
– 5 = advanced
Informal Methods
• Observations: academic and social settings.
• Questionnaires: parents and teachers answer openended questions.
• Rating Scales: Uses Likert scales for teacher and parent
input.
• Storytelling: Have the child tell you a story and evaluate
that story.
• Cloze Techniques: Student completes a sentence or
phrase presented.
• Language Samples: Obtained through direct
conversation, observations in class, or anywhere that the
child talks
Informal Language Testing
• Many of the previously described methods have
previously published methods of conducting the
informal assessment.
– Observations: BOLD
– Questionnaires: Bilingual Proficiency Questionnnaire
– Teacher Rating Scale: SOLOM
• Make sure that you are familiar with how to
produce CBM before you make your own informal
measure of language assessment.
Factors When Interpreting
Language Proficiency Data
• Context of previous educational services and
home literacy factors.
– Does child have CALP in L1?
– What type of bilingual education?
– Does the child receive formal language instruction in
L1 outside of school?
• Compare the ELL with other ELLs
– CALP scores significantly different from language
learning peers?
– Do teachers note any significant difference from
language learning peers?
– Any significant difference from language learning
peers?
Factors When Interpreting
Language Proficiency Data
• Consistency of data across formal and informal measures
– If there is a difference, you need to find out why this occurs.
• Additional Caveats in Interpretation
– Dominance only shows if a child is better in tested aspects of
language assessed and not child’s overall language skills.
– Just because a child is dominant in one language over another,
this does not mean that the child has sufficient language skills
to just test in that language.
– Presence or absence of an accent does not indicate proficiency
or dominance. It just shows what age the learner picked up
either language.
Quiz Answers:
2nd Language Acquisition
• Bilingual education delays, if not prevents, LEP students
form learning English. (FALSE)
• LEP students have more oral-language special education
deficits. (FALSE)
• All bilingual education programs are the same; therefore
if they are in bilingual ed they cannot be described as
having “lack of educational opportunity.” (FALSE)
• You only have to test a child in their native language if/
when they can’t talk to you in English or if they are in
bilingual ed/ESOL. (FALSE)
English Language Learners
TRANSLATORS AND INTERPRETERS
Definitions
• Interpreter: conveys information from L1 to L2
orally
• Translator: conveys information from L1 to L2 in
writing.
Working with Interpreters
 Work with trained interpreters familiar with the
student’s culture and regional area of origin.
 Know how to train interpreters when needed.
 Knowledge of the skills needed by qualified
interpreters
 Aware of problems inherent in the process of
translation.
 Knowledge of the psychological impact of using
interpreters during assessment and intervention
activities.
Working with Interpreters
 Knowledge and skills in interviewing and assessing
individuals through interpreters.
 Examine data obtained through interpreters with
extreme caution and acknowledge the limitations of
such data.
 Assessment results obtained through interpreters
are described as such and are reported
qualitatively.
Where do you find
an interpreter?
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•
•
Smaller Towns
Hospitals
Court Houses
Police Stations
Churches
•
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Larger Cities
Embassies
Colleges & Universities
Government Offices
Translator Services
Online Options
• American Speech and Hearing Association Website
• proz.com
• translationcentral.com
Criteria for Selection of
Interpreter
• Equally fluent in English and the native language
• Have a minimum of a high school diploma.
• Be able to:
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Accurately translate from L1 to L2
Be sensitive to the style of the speaker
Adjust to linguistic variations
Know about the culture of the speaker
Familiar with educational terms
Understand their role in the IEP meeting
Flexible
People who should not be
interpreters
•
•
•
•
Friends of the student or his/her family.
Family members of the student
Possibly the student’s teacher
Anyone who is also attending the same school as the
student (another student)
• Anyone who is not fluent in both languages
• Anyone who cannot be impartial about this child
• Anyone who does not understand confidentiality issues
and the importance of FERPA and test confidentiality.
Translator/ Interpreter
Training
• Special education terms in both English and other
language.
• Procedures for any meetings for which they are
translating.
• Basic rules for assessments.
• Basic techniques for assessments.
• Overview and practice joint administration of tests in the
target language.
• Legal and ethical guidelines needed to work as a
translator.
• Basic knowledge of 2nd language acquisition.
Translator/ Interpreter
Training
• Know the purpose of the session and any materials
needed.
• Ask questions when you are unclear.
• Introduce yourself and everyone else
• Interpret everything (not just the gist) do not make
assumptions that this bit of information is unimportant
and doesn’t need translating.
• Remain neutral throughout.
• Maintain confidentiality throughout.
Interpreter Code of Ethics
• Keep all information strictly confidential.
• Always convey the content and spirit of the message in a
manner understandable by all.
• Shall not counsel, advice, or interject personal opinions.
• Only accept assignments for which qualified.
• Fee information is decided upfront.
• Be respectful to all persons involved.
• Shall attend any additional training needed and study
current literature of the field.
Tips when using
interpreters…
• Allow time before testing to train the interpreters (long
before) and reacquaint the interpreters (right before)
with tests.
• Speak in short, simple sentences.
• Avoid idioms or jargon.
• Use specific terms.
• Allow time to translate all messages.
• Frequently check for understanding.
• For first one or two times, have someone else sit in who
speaks both languages to evaluate.
More tips…
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Speak naturally in brief but complete sentences.
Look at the person talking, not the interpreter.
Monitor facial expressions for confusion.
Monitor body language to judge acceptance of the
information.
Allow extra time for this type of testing and these types
of meetings in your schedule.
You administer the tests, not the translator.
Allow for breaks when needed.
Nothing said should be left out of translation.
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