Publication Date

2013

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Department

Psychology

Keywords

Bilingualism in children-Ability testing, Language and languages-Examinations-Evaluation, Bilingual English Spanish oral screener, BESOS, Dual language learners, Preschool, First grade, Semantics, Morphosyntax, Child development, Language acquisition, Language acquisition-Testing, Bilingual children, Longitudinal, Woodcock-Johnson III, BESA, Bilingual English Spanish assessment

Abstract

To properly measure the linguistic abilities of English-Spanish bilingual children it is necessary to assess them in both languages (Bedore and Pe’±a et al, 2012). Current assessment tools fail to accurately capture the language development of English-Spanish bilingual children because test items are reflective of the mainstream culture and therefore performance evaluations may not reflect the linguistic skills of children outside the mainstream norms (Pe’±a and Halle, 2011). The Bilingual English Spanish Oral Screener (BESOS) is a tool that was specifically developed to tap into the crucial milestones of language acquisition of dual language speakers of English and Spanish. The screening test is currently in the process of standardization and validation and its validity in predicting later problems in language or literacy development has not yet been established (Bedore et al. , 2012). The objective of the present thesis is the investigation of the predictive validity of the BESOS screening test on reading comprehension in a large longitudinal sample of Hispanic children (N=96) with different levels of input and use of English and Spanish. The predictive validity of the BESOS was assessed by measuring the relationship between participants' scores on the screener at preschool and their performance on the Woodcock-Johnson III Reading Achievement Test at the end of first grade. Results demonstrated that the BESOS is an effective predictive measure of English-Spanish bilingual children's English reading comprehension at the end of first grade. The analyses also showed that the BESOS possesses good concurrent validity with existing measures of English vocabulary and syntax and may be able to identify children at risk for low English literacy. Additional analyses revealed that Spanish language input and use at home are crucial factors for continued Spanish language development while age plays a larger role in the acquisition of English. These results demonstrate that the BESOS is an excellent 3 assessment tool for measuring the language development of English-Spanish bilingual preschoolers between the ages of 3 ½ and 6.

Language

English

Comments

56 p. : col. ill. Honors project-Smith College, 2013. Includes bibliographical references (p. 47-48)

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