Measures and References: Primary Language

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Numerous measures exist to gain a full picture of a student's learning strengths and challenges. Following are examples of measures used to assess this Learner Factor. These measures should be administered and interpreted by experienced professionals.

Conceptual Scoring (Wang, Castilleja, Sepulveda, & Daniel, 2011): A method for evaluating a child's entire language system, which is important because bi/multilingual children typically possess different skills in their various languages. It is essential to assess language skills in every language a child knows in order to achieve a full picture of their language proficiency to understand patterns within and across languages.

Woodcock-Muñoz Language Survey - Revised Normative Update (WMLS-R NU) (Schrank et al., 2010): A norm-referenced test of reading, writing, listening, and language comprehension skills that can be administered in both English and Spanish


Barac, R., Bialystok, E., Castro, D. C., & Sanchez, M. (2014). The cognitive development of young dual language learners: A critical review. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 29(4), 699-714.

Bialystok, E., & Senman, L. (2004). Executive processes in appearance-reality tasks: The role of inhibition of attention and symbolic representation. Child Development, 75(2), 562-579.

Burns, M. K., & Helman, L. A. (2009). Relationship between language skills and acquisition rate of sight words among English language learners. Literacy Research and Instruction, 48(3), 221-232.

Droop, M., & Verhoeven, L. (1998). Background knowledge, linguistic complexity, and second-language reading comprehension. Journal of Literacy Research, 30(2), 253-271.

Foy, J. G., & Mann, V. A. (2013). Bilingual children show advantages in nonverbal auditory executive function task. _International Journal of Bilingualism, 18(_6), 717-729.

Gonzalez, J., Pollard-Durodola, S., Saenz, L., Soares, D., Davis, H., Resendez, N., & Zhu, L. (2016). Spanish and English early literacy profiles of preschool Latino English language learner children. Early Education and Development, 27(4), 513-531.

Haskins, R., Greenberg, M., & Fremstad, S. (2004). Federal policy for immigrant children: Room for common ground? (Policy Brief). The Future of Children, 14(2), 2-6.

Hoff, E. (2013). Interpreting the early language trajectories of children from low-SES and language minority homes: Implications for closing achievement gaps. Developmental Psychology, 49(1), 4-14.

Hoff, E., Core, C., Place, S., Rumiche, R., Señor, M., & Parra, M. (2012). Dual language exposure and early bilingual development. Journal of Child Language, 39(1), 1-27.

Kormi-Nouri, R., Shojaei, R. S., Moniri, S., Gholami, A. R., Moradi, A. R., Akbari-Zardkhaneh, S., & Nilsson, L. G. (2008). The effect of childhood bilingualism on episodic and semantic memory tasks. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 49(2), 93-109.

Lesaux, N. K., Crosson, A. C., Kieffer, M. J., & Pierce, M. (2010). Uneven profiles: Language minority learners' word reading, vocabulary, and reading comprehension skills. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 31(6), 475-483.

Mancilla‐Martinez, J., & Lesaux, N. K. (2011). The gap between Spanish speakers' word reading and word knowledge: A longitudinal study. Child Development, 82(5), 1544-1560.

Marchman, V. A., Fernald, A., & Hurtado, N. (2010). How vocabulary size in two languages relates to efficiency in spoken word recognition by young Spanish-English bilinguals. Journal of Child Language, 37(04), 817-840.

McCardle, P., Keller-Allen, C., & Shuy, T. (2008). Learning disability identification. In E. Grigorenko (Ed.), Educating individuals with disabilities(pp. 137-164). New York, NY: Springer.

Meristo, M., Falkman, K. W., Hjelmquist, E., Tedoldi, M., Surian, L., & Siegal, M. (2007). Language access and theory of mind reasoning: evidence from deaf children in bilingual and oralist environments. Developmental Psychology, 43(5), 1156.

Moje, E. B., Ciechanowski, K. M., Kramer, K., Ellis, L., Carrillo, R., & Collazo, T. (2004). Working toward third space in content area literacy: An examination of everyday funds of knowledge and discourse. Reading Research Quarterly, 39(1), 38-70.

Morton, J. B., & Harper, S. N. (2007). What did Simon say? Revisiting the bilingual advantage. Developmental Science, 10(6), 719-726.

Ramirez, G., Chen, X., Geva, E., & Kiefer, H. (2010). Morphological awareness in Spanish-speaking English language learners: Within and cross-language effects on word reading. Reading and Writing, 23, 337-358.

Swanson, H. L., Orosco, M. J., & Lussier, C. M. (2015). Growth in literacy, cognition, and working memory in English language learners. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 132, 155-188.