LANE 424 / Chapter 2 10.04.1434 The measurement of bilingualism

LANE 424 / Chapter 2
The measurement of bilingualism
* Why measuring bilinguals? For what purposes?
Distribution; Selection; Summative; Formative
* How? The assessment of bilinguals in school: 2 methods:
(1) Language proficiency tests:
(a) Norm referenced test NRT: Compare one person with others (e.g. with a national
or regional average). Example: IQ test
(b) Criterion referenced test CRT: measure how well a person has learned a specific
body of knowledge and skills. What a student can and cannot do.
Advantages of CRTs?
- point of comparison
- providing direct feedback into teachers decisions; locating children needing support;
(2) Self-rating on proficiency
How well do you speak ..
Yes - fluently
Yes - fairly well
Yes - some
Yes - just a little
No - not now
Other language abilities: understand, read, write
* Limitations/problems in measuring bilinguals:
E.g. Ambiguity, context, social desirability, …..
LANE 424 / Chapter 2
The measurement of bilingualism
* Communicative language testing
Measuring a person's use of language in authentic situations (real communicative
situations; e.g. in a shop, at home, at work; …)
Testing communicative competence (e.g. IELTS; p. 29)
* Measurement of bilinguals in research:
Language background scales: Who speaks what language to whom and when (p. 32)
* Measures of language balance and dominance (p. 34):
Seeks to measure the language strength of a bilingual person.
E.g. A word association task.
* Language censuses:
See example US census language question;
Does this person speak a language other than English at home?
How does this person speak English? (Very well, Well, Not well, Not at all)
* Conclusion
See key point in Chapter 2 (p. 40)