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IES Grant

Title: Spanish Screener for Language Impairment in Children (SSLIC)
Center: NCSER Year: 2008
Principal Investigator: Restrepo, Maria Adelaida Awardee: Arizona State University
Program: Reading, Writing, and Language      [Program Details]
Award Period: 6/1/2008 to 5/31/2012 Award Amount: $1,598,878
Type: Measurement Award Number: R324A080024

Purpose: English language learners represent approximately 9.6 percent of all children enrolled in public schools. Eighty percent of students who are English language learners speak Spanish as their native language and Spanish-speaking children represent the fastest growing population in the public schools. Current assessment instruments are inadequate for assessing Spanish speaking students and lead to inappropriate identification and placement of students in special education programs. To address this need, this study proposes to develop a screener for identifying Spanish-speaking children at risk for language impairment. The screener will be developed for use as a universal screener in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten and as a screening tool for speech-language pathologists to use with children in first through third grades.

Project Activities: During Phase I, researchers plan to generate and validate tasks, which will include procedures for determining constructs of the assessment and processes to collect data that will refine the assessment. In Phase II, researchers will integrate the various tasks and items generated in Phase I into a preliminary form of the full screener. The internal structure of the screener and the quality of the items will be examined. Phase III will include establishing the validity of the full screening instrument, including the validation of cut-scores and decision rules for score interpretation.

Products: The products of this project include a fully developed screening instrument to identify Spanish-speaking students with language impairment, administration and scoring specifications, decision rules and interpretation guide for language impairment identification, published reports, and presentations.

Setting: Elementary schools are located in Arizona.

Population: A total of 2500 Latino children will be recruited from preschools and elementary schools. Students will speak Spanish as their first language and have limited English. Children with suspected language disorders and typically developing children will be included. Children with language disorders will meet the following criteria: (a) qualify for speech and language services based on their scores on speech and language assessments, and (b) have parent or teacher concern. Typically developing children will meet the following criteria: (a) no history of language or developmental delay, based on parent and teacher reports, and (b) score within the typical range on a standardized language assessment.

Intervention: N/A

Research Design and Methods: The screener will be developed in three phases. Phase I will consist of task development, item writing, item analysis, and validation. The tasks to be developed will include targeting skills in rapid automatized naming, nonword repetition, sentence recall, fast mapping, word association, and morphological cloze task. During Phase II, the screening instrument will be assembled. The internal structure of the screener and the quality of the items will be examined. In Phase III, the screener validity and decision rules will be examined for validity and reliability on a sample of Spanish-speaking children.

Control Condition: N/A

Key Measures: Student measures will be used for two purposes: to identify language impairments and to assess language proficiency. Two standardized measures will be used to identify language impairment in Spanish-speaking children for validation of the screening instrument: (a) the Bilingual English Spanish Assessment and (b) the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals, Spanish Edition. Parent report will also be used in conjunction with standardized measures to identify language impairment. One standardized measure will be used to assess language proficiency: The Expressive One Word Picture Vocabulary Test, Bilingual Version. Parent report of language use and proficiency, as well as the Teacher Language Observation Questionnaire, will also be used to assess language proficiency.

Data Analytic Strategy: In Phase I, data analysis includes analysis and imputation of missing data, descriptive analyses of individual items, and task analysis to identify items from the initial pool that have the highest item-total correlations and strongest predictive power. Analysis in Phase II focuses on three main issues: (1) item analysis to identify equivalent and discriminating items for parallel forms of the screener, (2) estimates of internal consistency and inter-rater reliability, and (3) construct validation including structural and external aspects of validity. Analysis in Phase III examines equivalence of the screener scores across gender and SES, validation of the cut-scores and decision rules for score interpretation, and examination of score reliability in terms of stability.


Journal article, monograph, or newsletter

Castilla-Earls, A., Perez-Leroux, A.T., Restrepo, M.A., Gaile, D., and Chen, Z. (in press). The Complexity of the Spanish Subjunctive in Bilingual Children with SLI. Language Acquisition. doi:10.1080/10489223.2016.1192636

Castilla-Earls, A., Restrepo, M.A., Perez-Leroux, A.T., Gray, S., Holmes, P., Gail, D., and Chen, Z. (2015). Interactions Between Bilingual Effects and Language Impairment: Exploring Grammatical Markers in Spanish-Speaking Bilingual Children. Applied Psycholinguistics: 1–27. doi:10.1017/S0142716415000521

Kapantzoglou, M., Restrepo, M.A., Gray, S., and Thompson, M.S. (2015). Language Ability Groups in Bilingual Children: A Latent Profile Analysis. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 58(5): 1549–1562. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-L-14–0290

Kapantzoglou, M., Thompson, M.S., Gray, S., and Restrepo, M.A. (2016). Assessing Measurement Invariance for Spanish Sentence Repetition and Morphology Elicitation Tasks. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 59(2): 254–266. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-L-14–0319

Morgan, G.P., Restrepo, M.A., and Auza, A. (2013). Comparison of Spanish Morphology in Monolingual and Spanish-English Bilingual Children With and Without Language Impairment. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 16(3): 578–596. doi:10.1017/S1366728912000697

Smyk, E., Restrepo, M.A., Gorin, J., and Gray, S. (2013). Development and Validation of the Spanish-English Language Proficiency Scale (SELPS). Language Speech and Hearing Services in the Schools, 44(3): 252–265. doi:10.1044/0161–1461(2013/12–0074)