Screening Bilingual Preschoolers for Language Difficulties: Utility of Teacher and Parent Reports Purpose The utility of parent and teacher reports for screening 3 types of bilingual preschoolers (English–first language [L1]/Mandarin–second language[L2], Mandarin-L1/English-L2, or Malay-L1/English-L2) for language difficulty was investigated in Singapore with reference to measures of reliability, validity, sensitivity, and specificity in an English-medium kindergarten setting. Method The index tests ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 14, 2017
Screening Bilingual Preschoolers for Language Difficulties: Utility of Teacher and Parent Reports
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Emmanuel Peng Kiat Pua
    Department of Psychology, National University of Singapore
  • Mary Lay Choo Lee
    Department of Psychology, National University of Singapore
  • Susan J. Rickard Liow
    Department of Psychology, National University of Singapore
    Department of Otolaryngology, National University of Singapore
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Susan J. Rickard Liow: entsrl@nus.edu.sg
  • Editor: Sean Redmond
    Editor: Sean Redmond×
  • Associate Editor: Emma Hayiou-Thomas
    Associate Editor: Emma Hayiou-Thomas×
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / School-Based Settings / Research Issues, Methods & Evidence-Based Practice / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 14, 2017
Screening Bilingual Preschoolers for Language Difficulties: Utility of Teacher and Parent Reports
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2017, Vol. 60, 950-968. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-L-16-0122
History: Received March 30, 2016 , Revised August 7, 2016 , Accepted September 26, 2016
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2017, Vol. 60, 950-968. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-L-16-0122
History: Received March 30, 2016; Revised August 7, 2016; Accepted September 26, 2016

Purpose The utility of parent and teacher reports for screening 3 types of bilingual preschoolers (English–first language [L1]/Mandarin–second language[L2], Mandarin-L1/English-L2, or Malay-L1/English-L2) for language difficulty was investigated in Singapore with reference to measures of reliability, validity, sensitivity, and specificity in an English-medium kindergarten setting.

Method The index tests were teachers’ ratings of the English language ability of 5-year-olds (N = 85) on the Bilingual Language Assessment Battery (BLAB): Preschool Teacher Report (Pua, Lee, & Rickard Liow, 2013) and parents' ratings of their child's home language ability (N = 78 English-L1, Mandarin-L1, or Malay-L1) on the BLAB: Preschool Parent Report (Pua, Lee, & Rickard Liow, 2013). The reference standards were objective measures of single-word receptive vocabulary (80 items) and expressive vocabulary (140 items) in the child's L1 and L2, as proxies for language ability.

Results BLAB Teacher Reports for the English receptive and expressive subscales showed concurrent validity for all 3 bilingual groups, as well as generally high sensitivity and specificity. In contrast, BLAB Parent Reports for L1 receptive ability failed to show significant correlations with the objective measures of receptive vocabulary.

Conclusion Subjective teacher ratings may be an effective method of screening bilingual preschoolers for language difficulty, thereby prompting referral to clinicians.

Acknowledgments
The authors are grateful for the help received from the teachers, parents, and children of Sparkletots Kindergarten. The study was carried out as part of a longitudinal project which was supported by a National University of Singapore Graduate Research Scholarship awarded to the second author.
Order a Subscription
Pay Per View
Entire Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research content & archive
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access