Assessment of Children from a Bi-or Multilingual Context at Risk for Language Impairment

From October 2009 to September 2011
Project Leader(s): Ghada Khattab and Carolyn Letts
Sponsors: ESRC

This is a two-year seminar series which provides a forum to evaluate and develop ways of assessing the language development of children who are bi- or multilingual. Valid and reliable assessments would permit accurate diagnosis of language impairment, inform intervention, and provide measurement tools for research into child language acquisition and impairment. The recent review by Bercow (2008) reports that 7% of children entering school in England have "significant difficulties with speech and/or language" (13), and that there is wide variation in the support these children receive. A proportion of these will be acquiring language and communication skills in a multilingual context and there is evidence that a significant proportion of these particular children are not being identified or accessing services where appropriate. In order to identify the types of need that the Bercow review talks about, as opposed to second language teaching needs, it is necessary to assess the child's skill in all their languages.  The series will therefore have the following aims: 

  1. Establishment of methodological principles for development of cross-linguistic and bilingual assessments for communication impairment.
  2. Facilitating and supporting collaborative research bids in this area.
  3. Development of techniques to evaluate assessment procedures based on translations and/or adaptations of existing tests.
  4. Appropriate dissemination of output to practitioners and professional bodies.

Awarded £15,399


Dr Ghada Khattab
Senior Lecturer

Dr Carolyn Letts
Senior Lecturer