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Bilingual and Cross-Cultural Assessment Sample Syllabi

Course Description

This course is designed to learn and to practice best known strategies in conducting fair speech and language assessments of individuals from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds. The results of this process will enable clinicians to plan appropriate intervention strategies to enhance those individuals' communication skills and success in the mainstream educational and work settings.

This course develops competencies in assessment of bilingual/bicultural children and offers a more general overview on adults. It includes information on understanding the historical perspectives/philosophies and underlying assumptions of standardized tests, test construction (psychometrics), and legal issues involved in the assessment process. The use of alternative practices (including curriculum and criterion-based assessment), interviews, dynamic assessment, descriptive analysis, classroom observations, other professionals and families, as well as collaboration with interpreters/translators will be discussed to provide a more holistic and fair assessment about these individuals' linguistic, learning, and communicative abilities. Intervention issues and strategies that work and assess the individual's progress will be reviewed as well.

Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course, the student will demonstrate the following:

  • Understanding of the historical perspectives and assumptions underlying standardized testing.
  • Knowledge of legal and pedagogical issues in the identification, referral, and assessment of bilingual/bicultural individuals.
  • The ability to evaluate the advantages and limitations of standardized tests and identify implications for bilingual/bicultural children and individuals.
  • Skills in selecting, using, and interpreting alternative assessment procedures including working collaboratively with an interpreter/translator.
  • The ability to write and implement appropriate intervention procedures for bilingual/bicultural individuals.

Required Texts

Farr, B.P., & Trumbull, E. (1997). Assessment alternatives for diverse classrooms. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters Ltd.

Langdon, H.W., & Cheng, L.L. (2002). Collaborating with interpreters and translators. A guide for communication disorders professionals. Eau Claire, WI: Thinking Publications.

Wallace, G.L. (1997). Multicultural neurogenics: A resource for speech-language pathologists. San Antonio, TX: Communication Skill Builders.

Recommended Reading

Langdon, W., & Cheng, L.L. (1992). Hispanic children and adults with communication disorders: Assessment and intervention. Gaithersburg, MD: Aspen Publishers, Inc.

Class Outline

Class 1: Course Overview

  • Chapter 1 (Farr & Trumbull)
  • Chapter 2 (Wallace)
  • The challenge of assessment: School-age students
  • Preparing for patient contact: Adults

Class 2: Historical Perspectives on Testing

  • Chapter 2 (Farr & Trumbull)
  • Proposition 227 in California

Class 3: Optimal Curriculum and Learning Environments

  • Chapter 3 (Farr & Trumbull)
  • Chapter 5 (Wallace)

Class 4: Language Use in Instruction and Assessment

  • Chapter 4 (Farr & Trumbull)
  • Chapter 4 (Wallace)

Class 5: Presentations on ELL Students in Various Districts throughout the County

Class 6: Speech and Language Assessments

  • Tests available in the target language
  • General procedures
  • Chapter 7 (Langdon & Cheng, 1992)

Class 7: Working with Interpreters and Translators

  • Balancing linguistic and cultural variables
  • Assessment issues
  • Chapters 4 & 5 (Langdon & Cheng, 2002)

Class 8: Focus on Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology

  • Chapter 6 (Langdon & Cheng, 2002)

Class 9: Collecting Information from Interpreters

  • Observation and recording-assessment

Class 10: Language Sampling

  • Dynamic assessment
  • Curriculum based assessment-criterion assessments
  • Chapter 5 (Farr & Trumbull)

Class 11: Alternative Modes of Assessment (Continued)

  • Portfolios
  • Chapter 6 (Farr & Trumbull)

Class 12: Management of Bilingual Neurologically Impaired Adults

  • Chapter 6 (Wallace)

Class 13: Intervention and Issues

  • Chapter 8 (Langdon & Chen, 1992)

Class 14: Service Delivery Models

  • Chapter 9 (Langdon & Chen, 1992)

Class 15: Summary of Class-Reports


Assignment 1

Search the site for the districts that were assigned to you on the Internet.

Record the number of schools (elementary, secondary, and high school where appropriate).

Record the number of students and the number of ELL students including the languages and percentages of students speaking those languages.

Record main information as reported by Human Resources or Assessment and Evaluation Office in the districts.

Write one page reflection on what you learned from working on the project.

Assignment 2

Interviewing an Interpreter/Translator

  • Each student will be requested to contact two interpreters and report the interview in a three-page, double-spaced paper. Please include the answers to your interview questions as an attachment to the paper. Send the questionnaire filled out.
  • Interview an interpreter/translator who has preferably worked with a speech-language pathologist, psychologist, and/or educator. Use the questionnaire below to collect your information.
  • Summarize what you learned from this experience in paragraphs. Compare and contrast results of the two interviews.

Questionnaire for Officer in District Human Resources or Assessment Evaluation

Student says: 'Thank you for giving me your time. This interview should not last more than 10 minutes. I am participating in a class project for my Bilingual Assessment Class. We are interested in learning more about how services are rendered by interpreters and translators in your district."

Definitions: Interpreters are those individuals who translate information conveyed orally from one language to the other. Translators are those individuals who translate the information in writing.

Do you hire interpreters and translators (I/Ts) in your district? (Yes/No)

If no, please explain how I/Ts are hired for the various jobs in your district.

What are the languages for which you hire I/Ts?

How many times have you had to hire an I/T last year?

How many I/Ts work in your district?

What criteria do you follow in hiring your I/Ts? (e.g., How do you know they are competent to do the job?)

Services provided by I/Ts (Please mark all that apply):

Parent/family interview

Special education assessments (such as SLP, Resource, APE, Psychological)

IEP conferences

IEP translations and other written documents

Other (please state)

Please indicate which is/are the most frequent service(s).

How do you evaluate the effectiveness of the I/T?

What are your needs in this area for your district?

Questionnaire for the Interpreter/Translator (I/T)

Setting (school, hospital, clinic, other) __________________________


How many years of experience?___________________

Has I/T received any training?_____ If so, where, when, how long was the training?____

Does the I/T have opportunities for continued training? ____How often?_________

When does the I/T work with a SLP, psychologist, special and/or regular educator? Circle all that apply:

  • interviews
  • assessment
  • conferences to report results and/or progress
  • therapy

Which one(s) is/are the most frequent?

How many hours does the I/T work in the setting per week?

What type of interpreting does the I/T use? (Consecutive, simultaneous, whispered?)

Does the I/T do any translations? If so, what type? (Sight or Prepared?) What type of documents?

Does the I/T have time to brief and debrief with the educator prior to and/or after a meeting, an interview, a conference, or an assessment?

How does the I/T know that what is being interpreted is clear to the client or family member?

What does the I/T do if the client or family member seeks advice during the encounter or prior to/after the encounter?

How does the I/T know that the client or family member understands his/her rights regarding assessment, receiving a given procedure, or understanding the therapy or intervention suggested?

How does the I/T know that the client or family member is satisfied with his/her services? If the I/T does not know, what suggestions does the I/T have to ensure that services are adequately met?

What does the I/T do if he/she disagrees with what the SLP or another professional says regarding ways of asking a question, requesting information, or transmitting information to the client/family member?

What does the I/T do if the parent, relative, or patient brings in a bilingual advocate to the meeting and the two of them do not agree on the meaning of a given word or a statement?

What would the I/T suggest to improve services to ELL clients?

Is there a difference in interpreting for persons from different specialties such as psychologists, physicians, or educators? What is the same or different?

What makes the job of an I/T easier?

Are there any professionals with whom the I/T prefers to work with and why?

Are there any professionals with whom the I/T prefers not to work with and why?

What would make the I/T profession in the educational or allied health profession attractive to more people?

Assignment 3

Assessment of a bilingual/bicultural individual (Two persons)

Assess a bilingual individual, age 3 years to adult, in both his and her dominant language and in English. Secure permission in writing from the individual and or the individual's parents/family. Conduct the assessment using the services of an interpreter if necessary. Write a report that includes the following headings:

  • reason for referral
  • background information
  • assessment procedure
  • results
  • discussion (observations of comprehension/processing, oral expression, reading/writing)
  • protocols
  • summary and recommendations for intervention

Please answer the following questions:

  • What was the most challenging about this project?
  • What did you learn from this project?
  • How will you use the knowledge you acquired in assessing future bilingual/bicultural clients?

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