Standards for Testing Bilingual Persons
This KnowledgeBase archive includes content and external links that were accurate and relevant as of September 30, 2019.
- For a bilingual person, any test that relies on English becomes confounded since, in unknown degrees, it becomes an English test.
- Bilingualism is a complex phenomenon involving all aspects of literacy, communication and social functions.
- Mental processing in the weaker language may be slower, less efficient and less effective.
- Language background, not just language proficiency, must be taken into account in every facet of assessment, such as test development, selection, administration and interpretation.
- Tests developed without accounting for language differences are limited in their validity and in how they can be interpreted.
- Psychometric properties (e.g., reliability, validity) do not translate from one language to another, and, hence, translations do not work.
- Measuring proficiency in first language (L1) and second language (L2).
- Proficiency in English should be determined along several dimensions.
- The ability to speak English in naturalistic situations may not predict the ability to learn academic material in English.
- Assessment of non-native speakers of English will take extra time (more tests and observations).
- Particularities of cultural background can lower test performance.
- Special training for bilingual communication in testing may be profitable and beneficial.
- Tests must be proven to be equivalent if they are formulated in L1 and L2.
Produced by the Evaluation Assistance Center-West NMHU, Albuquerque, NM (Revised 10/95). Revised from the Joint Committee of the American Educational Research Association. American Psychological Association, & American Council on Measurement. Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing. Washington D.C: APA. 1985.
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