Bilingual assessment practices: challenges faced by speech-language pathologists working with a predominantly bilingual population

Wei Teoh, Christine Brebner, Sue McAllister

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)


    The oral language assessment of bilingual children is challenging. The assessment practices and challenges faced by speech-language pathologists (SLPs) in countries where bilingualism is the norm have not been well investigated. This paper summarizes what is known about recommended bilingual assessment measures and their limitations. This leads to the investigation of the assessment measures used and challenges faced by SLPs working in Singapore, an English speaking and predominantly bilingual country. SLPs working with children in Singapore were invited to participate in an online survey that centerd on the themes of assessment practices and challenges via email invitations. A total of 26 responses were analysed. Results indicated that although the majority of the SLPs were bilingual, they too faced many challenges in assessing bilingual children’s language skills. The lack of appropriate local assessment tools, data on the developmental trajectories of local languages and, the lack of practice guidelines on bilingual assessment and alternative measures have resulted in SLPs using standardized assessments that were not designed for use with the population. Despite recommendations from the literature, there was also inadequate use of alternative assessment measures. Given the diversity of bilingual children’s language background and development, alternative assessments should be further explored to evaluate their skills rather than further efforts to modify or re-norm current validated standardized assessments.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)10-21
    Number of pages12
    JournalSpeech Language and Hearing
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2018


    • alternative assessment
    • assessment challenges
    • Bilingual
    • language assessment
    • Singapore
    • standardized assessment


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