Analysis of Item-Level Bias in the Bayley-III Language Subscales: The Validity and Utility of Standardized Language Assessment in a Multilingual Setting Purpose The purpose of this study was to improve standardized language assessments among bilingual toddlers by investigating and removing the effects of bias due to unfamiliarity with cultural norms or a distributed language system. Method The Expressive and Receptive Bayley-III language scales were adapted for use in a ... Research Note
Research Note  |   September 18, 2017
Analysis of Item-Level Bias in the Bayley-III Language Subscales: The Validity and Utility of Standardized Language Assessment in a Multilingual Setting
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Shaun K. Y. Goh
    Department of Biomedical Engineering, National University of Singapore
  • Elaine K. H. Tham
    Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences, Agency for Science and Technology Research (A*STAR), Brenner Centre for Molecular Medicine
  • Iliana Magiati
    Department of Psychology, National University of Singapore
  • Litwee Sim
    Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences, Agency for Science and Technology Research (A*STAR), Brenner Centre for Molecular Medicine
  • Shamini Sanmugam
    Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences, Agency for Science and Technology Research (A*STAR), Brenner Centre for Molecular Medicine
  • Anqi Qiu
    Department of Biomedical Engineering, National University of Singapore
    Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences, Agency for Science and Technology Research (A*STAR), Brenner Centre for Molecular Medicine
  • Mary L. Daniel
    Department of Child Development, KK Women's and Children's Hospital, Singapore
  • Birit F. P. Broekman
    Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences, Agency for Science and Technology Research (A*STAR), Brenner Centre for Molecular Medicine
  • Anne Rifkin-Graboi
    Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences, Agency for Science and Technology Research (A*STAR), Brenner Centre for Molecular Medicine
  • 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 Anne Rifkin-Graboi: anne_rifkin@sics.a-star.edu.sg
  • Editor: Sean Redmond
    Editor: Sean Redmond×
  • Associate Editor: Elizabeth Kay-Raining Bird
    Associate Editor: Elizabeth Kay-Raining Bird×
Article Information
Development / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Research Issues, Methods & Evidence-Based Practice / Language Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Language / Research Notes
Research Note   |   September 18, 2017
Analysis of Item-Level Bias in the Bayley-III Language Subscales: The Validity and Utility of Standardized Language Assessment in a Multilingual Setting
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, September 2017, Vol. 60, 2663-2671. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-L-16-0196
History: Received May 12, 2016 , Revised November 18, 2016 , Accepted March 15, 2017
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, September 2017, Vol. 60, 2663-2671. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-L-16-0196
History: Received May 12, 2016; Revised November 18, 2016; Accepted March 15, 2017

Purpose The purpose of this study was to improve standardized language assessments among bilingual toddlers by investigating and removing the effects of bias due to unfamiliarity with cultural norms or a distributed language system.

Method The Expressive and Receptive Bayley-III language scales were adapted for use in a multilingual country (Singapore). Differential item functioning (DIF) was applied to data from 459 two-year-olds without atypical language development. This involved investigating if the probability of success on each item varied according to language exposure while holding latent language ability, gender, and socioeconomic status constant. Associations with language, behavioral, and emotional problems were also examined.

Results Five of 16 items showed DIF, 1 of which may be attributed to cultural bias and another to a distributed language system. The remaining 3 items favored toddlers with higher bilingual exposure. Removal of DIF items reduced associations between language scales and emotional and language problems, but improved the validity of the expressive scale from poor to good.

Conclusions Our findings indicate the importance of considering cultural and distributed language bias in standardized language assessments. We discuss possible mechanisms influencing performance on items favoring bilingual exposure, including the potential role of inhibitory processing.

Acknowledgments
Funding was provided by grants from the Singapore National Medical Research Council’s Translational and Clinical Research Flagship Programme, grant numbers 004-NUS/2008 and 012-NUHS/2014, awarded to Yap Seng Chong; National Medical Research Council’s Cooperative Basic Research Grant, grant number 0039/2013, awarded to Anqi Qiu; the Biomedical Research Council’s Strategic Positioning Fund, grant number 2013/002, awarded to Peter Gluckman; and Singapore’s Ministry of Education Academic Research Fund Tier 2, grant number MOE2012-T2-2-130, awarded to Anqi Qiu; with additional funding by SICS A*STAR. We would like to thank all toddlers and mothers who participated in this study, Phey Hong Yang for training on the BSID-III, and administrators of the BSID-III, namely, Lit Wee Sim, Shamini Sanmugam, Suet Chian Sam, Siti Aishah Bte Abdul Rahman, Siti Suhaila Bte Sapuan, and Yi Ping Hu.
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