Validating the Accuracy of Language Screening Instruments in Identifying Preschool Children in El Paso, Texas

Roxana Stubbemann, University of Texas at El Paso


Background: Effective screeners are time and cost effective and may be an efficient indicator of whether a child needs further in-depth assessment. Surveyed Speech-Language Pathologists in the El Paso, TX region report using informal screening tools such as observational measures and checklists due to the lack of adequate standardized tools that suit the needs of bilingual children, which occupy a majority of their caseloads (Curtis, Summers, Smith, & Stubbemann, 2016). Many language-screening instruments are not psychometrically sound for culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) populations and limited research exists on the accuracy of these tools. Purpose: The purpose of this study is to expand the limited research of whether a proposed instrument, the Bilingual English Spanish Oral Screener (BESOS) accurately identifies CLD preschool-aged children who are at risk for language impairment (LI) and is valid for use in the El Paso, TX region. Methods: Nineteen children, aged 3-6 years, participated. Participants were screened for LI using the BESOS screening instrument, and assessed using a gold standard (PLS-5 and Language Sample). The sensitivity and specificity of the BESOS were gathered to determine the accuracy in identifying preschool children for the El Paso, TX region. Results: Results indicated an overall sensitivity of 100% and specificity of 81%. The BESOS had a good sensitivity (100%) in accurately identifying “at risk” participants for LI in all groups. For Pre-School however, specificity was (40%). Specificity for Pre-Kinder and Kinder groups were inconclusive as no children with LI were present. Conclusion: Preliminary data of this study shows promise for the use of the BESOS for identifying children at risk for LI in El Paso, TX.

Subject Area

Speech therapy|Language

Recommended Citation

Stubbemann, Roxana, "Validating the Accuracy of Language Screening Instruments in Identifying Preschool Children in El Paso, Texas" (2017). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI10281161.